Employment Remains Elusive for Resettled Refugees

ZATAARI REFUGEE CAMP. Here, in one of the world’s largest refugee camps, a thriving marketplace named Champs Elysees rivals those found in Istanbul or Athens, or even the Paris thoroughfare after which it’s named. Where once was only dirt, residents have opened market stands, or barber shops, or bakeries. When the city of Amsterdam donated 500 bicycles to the camp, entrepreneurs opened bicycle repair shops. It’s a testimony not only to the resiliency of the refugees stranded here year after year, but to their refusal to sit idle. It’s a quality that stands in stark contrast to the reality of many refugees once they leave the camps; whether settled into nearby urban centers or across the world in a new country, many struggle to find employment, and are forced to depend on charity, government stipends, or other, less reputable means of subsistence. The dream of resettlement—and subsequent employment—propels many refugees. But while nations around the world debate how many refugees to take in, and from which country and/or crisis, many fail to integrate employment plans into the mix. The result is a generation of refugees struggling to assimilate through one of the most universal of human desires—that of meaningful work. In Jordan alone, 85 percent of the Syrian refugees are living outside of camps such as Zataari, in the country’s urban centers. “Most of the refugees living in urban areas are in debt. Ninety three percent are living below the poverty line,” Aoife McDonald, an external relations director with UNHCR Jordan, told Diplomatic Courier. “They use their savings attempting to reach safety, then go into debt waiting for their asylum to be processed.” According to a report issued by the UNHCR, Syrian refugees are borrowing funds from friends and family, shopkeepers, and landlords for basic needs—rent, food, utilities—and those seemingly small amounts loom larger as they can’t be repaid. Many opt not to receive medical care because of the costs, and are reducing the number of meals they eat per day. When assistance does come, it’s barely enough to keep the roof over their heads, let alone help them get ahead of what they owe. Even those lucky enough to make their way to an economically prosperous country often find the cycle of poverty continues. Germany has absorbed more than 1.1 million migrants since the beginning of 2015, from the Middle East, Africa, and other economically-challenged or war-torn nations. But…

Source: Diplomatic Courier

Employment Remains Elusive for Resettled Refugees

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