Ethnic enclaves are often viewed as a negative for the integration of immigrants with natives in their new country. But it turns out that ethnic communities can help newly arrived refugees find work, according to a new Stanford study that analyzed a cohort of asylum seekers in Switzerland.
Researchers at the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab found that new refugees were more likely to become employed 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,” said Jens Hainmueller, a professor of political science at Stanford and a co-author on the research paper, published July 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Hainmueller is also a faculty co-director of the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab.
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