In this paper, we consider the economic impact of granting refugees in Malaysia the right to work. A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The analysis in this paper also refers to asylum seekers. An asylum seeker is an individual who is seeking international protection. In countries with individualised procedures, an asylum seeker is someone whose claim has not been decided on by the country in which he or she has submitted it. Not every asylum seeker will ultimately be recognised as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker. Due to data limitations, the estimates in Parts 3 and 4 refer to the impact of granting refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia the legal right to work.
This paper is organised into four parts:
In Part 1 we consider the current situation for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia; including their treatment under Malaysian law;
In Part 2 we consider the potential economic impact of granting refugees in Malaysia the right to work;
In Part 3 we estimate the impacts identified in Part 2 over a five-year period; and
In Part 4 we consider the potential longer-term economic contribution of refugees and estimate their potential economic contribution over 20 years.