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Evidence Summary

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   Employment

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What strategies improve the outcomes of refugee women in employment programs?

This evidence summary, authored by Switchboard, summarizes the state of available evidence regarding strategies to improve the employment rates of refugee women in employment programs.

Limited but growing evidence shows positive impacts of national policies on the employment rates of refugees.

Canada’s Educational Credential Assessment requirement for economic migrants and private sponsorship programs has shown positive impacts on employment rates, the latter especially for women with lower educational levels.

Denmark’s 2016 work-first policy for refugees had a significant positive impact on men’s employment rates one year after arrival, but the impact on women appeared to be limited and potentially negative.

Systematic reviews identified no robust studies for refugees specifically and limited evidence for low-income populations.

A 2015 comprehensive systematic review of the effects of interventions on refugees’ labor force participation rate, employment rate, use of cash assistance, income, job retention, and quality of life identified no studies for inclusion due to methodological weaknesses. Consequently, the review, which included programs serving both women and men, did not find any evidence for or against any intervention.

Several interventions have been found to be effective at improving labor market outcomes of low-income adults in general. The strategies that appear most effective are financial incentives and sanctions, education, work experience, and training. Interventions that combine several strategies to help low-income workers find and keep jobs appear more effective than any single strategy.

Largely suggestive evidence provides some guidance on what could work for refugee women entering the labor market.

Extended case management is associated with higher household incomes and job satisfaction, in addition to significantly higher employment rates at six months and one year post-resettlement. However, benefits for women are not as clear as those for men.

Supporting women in developing skills and meeting educational attainment goals can lead to higher employment rates.

Opening opportunities for women to engage in the workforce in non-traditional ways, such as through entrepreneurship or gig work, could help overcome potential barriers surrounding traditional workplaces.

Post TitleStrength of EvidenceType of StudyDirection of Evidence
Refugee women as entrepreneurs in AustraliaSuggestiveSuggestive evidenceNo impact
Triple Disadvantage? A first overview of the integration of refugee womenSuggestiveSuggestive evidencePositive impact
Syrian women refugees in Jordan: opportunity in the gig economySuggestiveSuggestive evidenceInconclusive or mixed impact
Interventions to Improve the Economic Self-sufficiency and Well-being of Resettled Refugees: A Systematic ReviewStrongSystematic reviewInconclusive or mixed impact
Which Employment Strategies Work for Whom? A Meta-RegressionStrongSystematic reviewPositive impact
Integrating refugees into host country labor markets: Challenges and policy options.SuggestiveSuggestive evidenceInconclusive or mixed impact
Evaluating Foreign Skills: Effects of Credential Assessment on Skilled Immigrants’ Labour Market Performance in CanadaSuggestiveSuggestive evidencePositive impact
Extended Case Management Services Among Resettled Refugees in the United StatesModerateImpact evaluationPositive impact
Labor market effects of a work-first policy for refugeesSuggestiveSuggestive evidenceInconclusive or mixed impact
The Long-term Economic Outcomes of Refugee Private SponsorshipSuggestiveSuggestive evidencePositive impact

Websites and Databases Population Terms Methodology Terms Target Intervention Terms
Campbell Collaboration

Cochrane Collaboration

Mathematica Policy Research

Evidence Aid

Urban Institute

Migration Policy Institute

HHS OPRE

ASSIA

Social Services Abstracts

Social Work Abstracts

ReliefWeb

Sociological Abstracts

Policy File Index

PAIS

GenderWatch

refugee

OR

asylee

OR

T-Visa

OR

U-Visa

OR

Cuban

OR

Haitian

OR

Amerasian

OR

immigrant

OR

low English proficien*

 

evaluation

OR

impact

OR

program

OR

intervention

OR

policy

OR

project

OR

train*

OR

therapy

OR

treatment

OR

counseling

OR

workshop

OR

review

OR

meta-analysis

OR

synthesis

(women or female)

OR
employ*

OR

“job readiness”

OR

work

OR

“self-sufficien*”

OR

“workforce development”

OR

“job development”

OR

“career”