Research ArticleSOCIAL SCIENCES

When lives are put on hold: Lengthy asylum processes decrease employment among refugees

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Science Advances  03 Aug 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600432
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600432
  • Fig. 1 Longer asylum wait times decrease the probability of subsequent employment for refugees, and this negative effect is stable across elapsed wait times.

    Point estimates (black solid line) and 95% confidence intervals (blue ribbon) for the effect of a 1-year increase in the asylum wait time on the probability of subsequent employment depending on how many months a refugee has already waited for his or her asylum decision (n = 17,360) are shown. Effect estimates based on locally weighted kernel regressions with Epanechnikov kernel (bandwidth, 2). Regressions control for gender, age, and fixed effects for week of entry, origin, quarter of residency, religion, ethnicity, and canton. pp, percentage point.

  • Fig. 2 Longer asylum wait times decrease the probability of subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by gender, origin continent, age at arrival, and assigned language region.

    Point estimates and 95% confidence intervals for the effect of a 1-year increase in the asylum wait time are shown. Estimates are based on ordinary least squares regression with robust SEs. Regressions include fixed effects for gender, age, week of entry, origin, religion, ethnicity, canton, and quarter of residency.

  • Fig. 3 Wait times for asylum decision vary by origin country and month of arrival.

    The average wait times for the asylum decision in days by month of arrival for refugees from the top six sending countries.

  • Table 1 Longer asylum wait times lower the probability of subsequent employment for refugees.

    Regression coefficients with robust SEs in parentheses. Outcome is measured as 100 for employed and 0 for not employed so that effects are in percentage points. All regressions include fixed effects for gender, age, quarter of residency, religion, ethnicity, and canton. Models 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10 also include fixed effects for origin and week of entry. Models 2, 5, 8, and 11 also include fixed effects for each origin × week of entry combination. Models 1 and 2 refer to all refugees. Models 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 11 are restricted to refugees for which 1, 2, or 3 years are observed before the asylum decision, respectively.

    Model1234567891011
    OutcomeEmployed (t)
    Sample mean21.1724.3828.3531.71
    Wait time (years)−4.87
    (1.18)
    −3.43
    (1.46)
    −4.64
    (1.27)
    −4.79
    (1.13)
    −3.63
    (1.47)
    −5.86
    (1.73)
    −6.14
    (1.51)
    −5.04
    (1.96)
    −9.48
    (2.48)
    −9.84
    (2.15)
    −7.12
    (3.16)
    Employed (t − 1)48.27
    (1.33)
    48.72
    (1.54)
    45.86
    (1.54)
    47.39
    (1.87)
    44.57
    (1.95)
    45.30
    (2.54)
    Employed (t − 2)11.49
    (1.80)
    6.81
    (2.15)
    12.60
    (2.23)
    8.61
    (2.75)
    Employed (t − 3)2.80
    (2.53)
    2.24
    (3.33)
    n17,36013,87791085437
    Employed Δ (%)−23.01
    (5.55)
    −16.21
    (6.89)
    −19.04
    (5.19)
    −19.67
    (4.63)
    −14.90
    (6.04)
    −20.65
    (6.10)
    −21.65
    (5.32)
    −17.78
    (6.91)
    −29.90
    (7.83)
    −31.04
    (6.79)
    −22.46
    (9.95)
    Additional fixed effects
     Origin (# 96)xxxxxxx
     Week of entry (# 572)xxxxxxx
     Origin × week of
    entry (# 5054)
    xxxx

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2/8/e1600432/DC1

    Supplementary Materials and Methods

    Supplementary Results

    fig. S1. Refugees and asylum seekers in European countries.

    fig. S2. Composition of refugee population in European countries.

    fig. S3. Composition of asylum seeker population in European countries.

    fig. S4. Longer asylum wait times decrease the probability of subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by war duration and the level of infant mortality from their origin country.

    table S1. Asylum seeker labor market access.

    table S2. Summary statistics.

    table S3. Longer asylum wait times lower subsequent employment for refugees (controlling for up to 3 years of previous employment and additional fixed effects).

    table S4. Results are robust to excluding the assigned canton as a control variable.

    table S5. Effects of longer asylum wait times on subsequent employment are similar for appellants and nonappellants (controlling for up to 3 years of previous employment).

    table S6. Effects of longer asylum wait times on subsequent employment are similar in cantons with 3 or 6 months of mandatory restrictions on labor market access (controlling for up to 3 years of previous employment).

    table S7. Longer asylum wait times lower the positive effect of getting subsidiary protection status on employment (controlling in panel regression for person, year, and canton fixed effects).

    table S8. Longer asylum wait times lower subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by gender, origin continent, age at arrival, and assigned language region.

    table S9. Longer asylum wait times lower subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by war duration of the origin country and the origin infant mortality.

    table S10. Because of batch processing, an applicant’s own wait time is primarily driven by the average wait time for other refugees who arrive on the same day from the same origin.

    table S11. Employment while waiting does not determine the wait time for the asylum decision.

    References (3641)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Materials and Methods
    • Supplementary Results
    • fig. S1. Refugees and asylum seekers in European countries.
    • fig. S2. Composition of refugee population in European countries.
    • fig. S3. Composition of asylum seeker population in European countries.
    • fig. S4. Longer asylum wait times decrease the probability of subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by war duration and the level of infant mortality from their origin country.
    • table S1. Asylum seeker labor market access.
    • table S2. Summary statistics.
    • table S3. Longer asylum wait times lower subsequent employment for refugees (controlling for up to 3 years of previous employment and additional fixed effects).
    • table S4. Results are robust to excluding the assigned canton as a control variable.
    • table S5. Effects of longer asylum wait times on subsequent employment are similar for appellants and nonappellants (controlling for up to 3 years of previous employment).
    • table S6. Effects of longer asylum wait times on subsequent employment are similar in cantons with 3 or 6 months of mandatory restrictions on labor market access (controlling for up to 3 years of previous employment).
    • table S7. Longer asylum wait times lower the positive effect of getting subsidiary protection status on employment (controlling in panel regression for person, year, and canton fixed effects).
    • table S8. Longer asylum wait times lower subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by gender, origin continent, age at arrival, and assigned language region.
    • table S9. Longer asylum wait times lower subsequent employment for various subgroups of refugees stratified by war duration of the origin country and the origin infant mortality.
    • table S10. Because of batch processing, an applicant’s own wait time is primarily driven by the average wait time for other refugees who arrive on the same day from the same origin.
    • table S11. Employment while waiting does not determine the wait time for the asylum decision.
    • References (3641)

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