No doubt the sheer number of refugees and asylum seekers flooding in from the Middle East and other war torn nations, presents both a governmental challenge, and a cultural challenge for the countries taking in all these newcomers. Often these newcomers are stuck waiting years to be credited, and during this time they are often not able to work. But one of the proven strategies to combat this challenge, is quickly integrating these refugees and asylum seekers into the host country’s workforce through mentoring and training, rather than a slow strenuous process which does more harm than good.As of December 2015, there were 65.
3 million displaced people, according to a report from the refugee agency, and 21.3 million of whom are refugees who have left their countries of origin. One of the many challenges countries taking in all of these newcomers is, often refugees and asylum seekers take years to be processed and often are unable to work during this period. During this process refugees go through extensive screening. In the United States a refugees background data will be put through many stages of screening through multiple databases throughout the course of their waiting time to either be processed or sent back home. This process in the United States takes roughly 18-24 months. This slow and strenuous process inhibits people from earning an income and instead it creates a logistical problem for the host countries, and another setback for a group of people whose lives have forced them to leave their home country. But one country has been able to solve this problem by fast tracking refugees into employment.
Sweden has often been known as a slow moving, environmentally friendly, equality culture with a population of respectful, kind hearted people. But, Sweden has been recently recognized for it’s outstanding handling of the refugee boom, which some countries have been unable to handle. The key to their success is a program called Snabbspåret, which directly translates to “fast track” in Swedish.
Here, new arrivals are actively encouraged into work, put on a fast-track to employment, and are given training and mentoring. Newcomers who already have relevant skills and experience, are given jobs in industries that are facing a shortage of workers. This “moral crusade” isn’t just a win-win situation for both the refugees and Sweden. “Sweden requires 64,000 immigrants annually if it wants to prevent labour shortages from hampering economic growth,” meaning all these refugees are able to fill in job sectors which have been in shortage due to low birth rates and high demands for certain jobs. And the refugees are able to secure employment and income to support themselves and their families while not being dragged down by a slow, inhibiting process which does more harm than good.
With a larger, balanced workforce there is no doubt going to be economic upsides. With newcomers filling job shortages and other sectors. With a fuller workforce the host countries economy will definitely feel the upsides. According to Focus-Economics by the end of 2017, the gross domestic product in Austria, Germany and Sweden saw an increase in their GDP. All of these countries which have received large amounts of refugees during the european refugee crisis, have seen an uptick in gross domestic product during 2017. Austria’s gross domestic product increased by 0.5%, Germany 0.3% and Sweden 0.
4% respectively. Although the longer term effects of mass refugee migrations isn’t clear due to the fact that we don’t know how often refugees stay in their host countries, average education, and other factors. But all of this depends on how well the host country integrates them into well paying jobs, and emulsifying them into the culture. If they integrate them thoroughly and well, the economic upsides could be tremendous with higher labor supply, gross domestic product, public coffers, and economic growth for the host country. In countries such as Germany, Austria, and Sweden, all of whom have done a good job integrating refugees into society have already seen rapid economic growth in the short time period they have housed these newcomers.