Impact of Refugees on Immigrants’ Labor Market Outcomes

This Blog is written by Aalaa Halaka   Dr. Bilal Malaeb is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford the University of Southampton. He presented his joint work with Dr. Jackline Wahba on the impact of refugees on the trading and labor market on the second day of the Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy conference in Amman. Bilal specifically examines immigrants or economic migrants and refugees and how they interact in the labor market respectively.       Using the Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey (JLMPS) 2016 data, Bilal finds that the non-Jordanian population of refugees and immigrants has increased Jordan’s population by about 45%, which raises the question of where they find work and whether they are somehow taking over jobs from Jordanians. Bilal’s study finds that a majority of the non-Jordanian population has relocated internally depending on the concentration of the refugee influx, as well as changed their sectors of employment between 2010 and 2015. Digging deeper into the empiricals, the results show that the competition in the labor market happens mainly between immigrants and refugees -rather than between immigrants and Jordanians. As a result, they argue, non-refugee immigrants are faced with an increased push toward informal employment, and a decrease in total hours of work per week -and thus a decrease in the total wages over the past three months.   Bilal concludes with an interesting observation that despite these effects, their hourly wages do not decrease, which implies that there is more competition over the informal sector jobs to which non-Jordanians have access.   The seminar on Jordanian Labor Market: Fragility or Resilience is held in Amman, Jordan, on 14 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.
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