Effects of Syrian Refugees on Labor Markets of Host Middle Eastern and European Countries

FEM43-07 | January 2019


« Effects of Syrian Refugees on Labor Markets of Host Middle Eastern and European Countries »


Dr. Roby Nathanson (MACRO Center, Israel), Prof. Khalid Sekkat (University of Brussels, Belgium) Mr. Itamar Gasala, The Macro Center for Political Economics; Ms. Ron Leyzer, The Macro Center for Political Economics; Mr. Jean Lacroix, Centre Emile Bernheim, Free Univeristy of Brussels


MACRO Center, Israel; University of Brussels, Belgium; University of Brussels, Belgium

Note :

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the EU-FEMISE project “Support to economic research, studies and dialogue of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”.. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Summary :

This research seeks to contribute to the assessment of refugees impact within labor markets and differing countries’ economies.

The country review and the empirical results lead us to four main policy recommendations.

As for the majority of countries no connection between the Syrian refugees’ inflow and unemployment or wages has been found, first, we recommend strengthening the existing trend of removing refugee-specific barriers in the labor market.

In addition, in countries with high minimum wage, temporary exceptions should be permitted in order to promote the employment of refugees.

Another important recommendation is to provide temporary migration opportunities in line with the labor market needs and address shortage of workers in some occupations, such as agriculture. A further investigation is needed based on each country’s needs.

Our last policy recommendation is to offer targeted temporary work opportunities and programs, as some European countries are already doing, both to local population that might be affected by the integration of refugees, and to the refugees themselves.