When Refugees Can Work: The Case of Uganda

Uganda Refugee Work

Ali Daud Omar will repair your cell phone for $6. He’s one of the refugees benefiting from the Ugandan government’s right-to-work policy. (Photo Credit: Gregory Warner/NPR)

Are refugees who are able to work in their host countries or elsewhere along their journey able to transition more successfully to job readiness when they arrive in the US?

My theory, based largely on experience, is yes.  What experiences can you share that speak to the impact of the right to work in host countries on refugee resettlement success here in the US?

How it Looks in Uganda

Refugees and asylees have had the right to “practice a profession and have access to employment opportunities” in Uganda for 15 years.

Two recent articles and a 7 minute segment on NPR’s Planet Money podcast focus on their diverse contributions to the Ugandan economy as a result.  (Click HERE and HERE for the relevant links.)

According to a UNHCR country profile, the three largest populations of “concern planned for under the Uganda operation in 2014 are: asylum-seekers and refugees originating from the DRC, Somalia and South Sudan, the vast majority of whom have arrived over the past five years.”





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