ship programme will get rolled out in four different parts of Germany. ”Patience is the biggest challenge for us as well as for the refugees,” she said. and require the skills needed for a job here in Germany. REFUGEES CONTRIBUTE ECONOMICALLY There is so far little pan-European organisation of business initiatives to integrate refugees. But initiatives are popping up across Europe. Denmark has for example 58 companies signed up to er for integration). In Sweden, LinkedIn launched a pilot programme called Welcome Talent that attempts to match quali- ties. month language courses for refugees. Philippe Legrain, a former economics adviser to the European Commission, said there were quite a few businesses being proactive and recruiting refugees, but overall they needed to do more. national studies on how refugees can contribute to advanced economies for the Tent Alliance, a foundation aimed at helping displaced people, set up by billionaire yoghurt producer Hamdi Ulukaya and supported by among others Airbnb, the IKEA Foundation, LinkedIn, MasterCard, UPS and Western Union. “In order for business to do more, governments need to put in place the right policies,” Legrain told EUobserver. “It should be possible for asylum seekers to come to work while their application is being processes and to speed up the processes. They need to make sure courses are provided that you can require equivalent,” he said. “Government and businesses need to work together." There is so far little pan- European organisation of business initiatives to integrate refugees. Photo: Renate Meijer 24 — BUSINESS IN EUROPE JUNE 2016
REFUGEES WILL GIVE EU ECONOMY A BOOST Investing €1 in welcoming refugees could yield nearly €2 in economic benefits within five years, study shows. By Lisbeth Kirk BUSINESS INCENTIVES labour markets that privilege insiders at the expense of outsiders. There is a spectrum of models for welcoming refugees to choose from. At one extreme, the US gives refugees a burst of initial help, after which they are expected to fend for themselves. At the other extreme, Sweden has traditionally provided refugees with generous social support, but made it hard for them to work. Welcoming refugees is not only a humanitarian act, it is also an Investing €1 in welcoming refugees could yield nearly €2 in eco- It is authored by Philippe Legrain, a former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission. The key message of the study is that policymakers and practitioners should stop considering refugees as a “burden” to be shared, but rather as an opportunity to be welcomed. Calculations based on IMF data suggest that welcoming refugees would increase public debt by €68.8 billion between 2015 and 2020, but cumulative GDP over the same period would be €126.6 billion higher. "Ageing societies with a shrinking native working age population, whose skills complement those of older, more experienced workers. Refugees can also help care and pay for the swelling ranks of pensioners," read the study. nomic contribution depends on their skill level, with highly skilled refugees making a positive contribution and less-skilled ones having a negligible – or even a negative – impact. dangerous and dull jobs that locals spurn, freeing locals to do higher-skilled jobs that they prefer, his report concluded. While Sweden now focuses much more on getting refugees into work, barriers to employment remain high. But overall, the US is much more successful than European countries at getting refugees into work, the study found. "Arguably, an ideal refugee welcome programme would combine the active assistance of the Swedish model with the job and enterprise opportunities of the US one," the report concluded. Many provide the worst of both worlds: little help for refugees and high barriers to employment and enterprise. should be resettled in areas where there are jobs, not in areas the report. AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE WELCOMED Yet, with so many positive indications of refugees bringing long term positive contributions to society, why are so many Europeans hostile? "On the economic side, both the opponents of refugees and the supporters of refugees tend to believe they are cost. Opponents is a cost that we have a duty to bear for humanitarian reasons," Philippe Legrain explained to EUobserver. "And so they both talk about a burden and that is a misconception as the report documents." "So they ought to be looking at this as an opportunity to be welcomed. You need to start changing the language to show refugees contribute." However, he also recognised there were issues to add to the economic rationale, such as culture, security and terrorism. "They need to be addressed separated," he said.