[International] How do you create a better asylum policy? We asked the asylum seekers

11 Apr 2019
The Washington Post

The EU and US asylum and immigration policies don`t work. According to the author of the Washington post article, the reason why is partly due to the fact one of the most important groups affected by those policies – refugees – is not consulted.

Margaret Peters, an associate professor at the University of California together with two other researchers conducted interviews with 1400 refugees from Syria and Iraq asking them about their needs, expectations and preferences.

The research findings show vast majority of refugees hopes to go back home after the violence in their countries ends and rebuild their lives. While in refugee, they want to have dignity, to be able to provide for themselves and their families without imposing burden or relying to others. Despite the widespread opinion refugees come because of the social benefits, their research showed finding job is the single most influential factor when making a decision where to go for those people. When asked what kind of assistance they need, feedback suggests governments should focus on providing them skills needed to get employment. Refugees are looking for language courses, job training and education for their children.

Answering the question how those insights could inform policy making, authors draw some very important conclusions:

  • Most of the migrants wants to go back to their home countries when it is safe for them to go. As a result, offering temporary residence permits could be a solution, to enable them to work and get in touch with the employers
  • Finding employment would be beneficial on two levels. On one side refugees would be able to provide for themselves and their families, become independent and productive members of the society. And secondly, data shows working enables refugees to get in touch with the local population, learn language, make friends and get accustomed to the new culture and way of living, which significantly contributes to their integration.

This project is funded by: