Giving Compass' Take:

• A Stanford University study analyzed governmental data of 8,590 asylum seekers granted temporary protection status when they arrived in Switzerland between 2008 and 2013. This study revealed that refugees assigned to live ethnic neighborhoods were more likely to find work. 

• Researchers say that this increase in refugee employment is significant since the statistics are usually quite low. How can donors get involved in spurring action in employment opportunities for this population? 

• Read about how businesses can come together to help refugees find jobs. 

The findings show that new refugees were more likely to get a job within their first five years if Swiss officials assigned them to live in an area with a larger community of people who share their nationality, ethnicity, or language.

“Our study shows that ethnic networks can be beneficial for the economic status of refugees at least within the first few years of their arrival in the host country,” says Jens Hainmueller, a professor of political science at Stanford University and a faculty co-director of the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab.

For the study in PNAS, researchers analyzed governmental data of 8,590 asylum seekers granted temporary protection status when they arrived in Switzerland between 2008 and 2013. The data also included five years of information on each refugee, including whether they found employment and in which industry.

Analysis of the data revealed that no more than 40 percent of refugees had a job during their fifth year in Switzerland. But those refugees assigned to cantons with a larger ethnic network were more likely to have found work.

If officials assigned a group of new refugees to a canton with a large share of others from their country, about 20 percent of those new arrivals became employed within three years of living in the country. But if that same group settled in an area with a small share of co-nationals, only 14 percent of the new arrivals had a job three years later.

“Given that refugee employment is generally very low, the increase in employment is an important effect,” Hainmueller says. “This is just one piece of a bigger puzzle on what helps refugees integrate within their host country.”

The new study is a part of a bigger project at the Immigration Policy Lab that aims to examine how the asylum process and its implementation affect the subsequent integration of refugees both in the US and Europe, Hainmueller says.

Read the full article about refugee employment by Alex Shashkevich at Futurity.