The Political and Societal salience of immigration
As illustrated in a study by Graham (2015) there has been an increase in the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) as well as refugees with the figure estimated at a round 60 million by the year 2014. The influx of refugees from across countries has affected domestic and regional and international politics. The most effect has been felt in the local economies and social fabric of the affected societies (Castles et al, 2014). Several countries have reacted differently to the growing presence of refugees with some exhibiting positive and others negative effects. According to the World Development Report for the World Bank, such reactions are normally based on the political and economic climate of the receiving country (World Development Report, 2011). Among the countries hosting the Syrian refugees, Jordan has the largest proportion relative to its overall population with a total of 636 thousand.
From the figures provided by the UNHCR, this makes up 6. 7 percent of total population in Jordan. This is followed by Lebanon. However, the Jordanian government has been giving conflicting figures arguing that the number of Syrian refugees totals nearly 1. However, there are problems with the law as it does not outline the criteria to be followed in identifying a refugee and the rights that they are entitled to. Sadek (2013) indicates that refugees are not allowed to access essential facilities such as education, health as well as employment. Considering the situation in Jordan, this paper focuses on the consequences of refugee influx from a general perspective and in economies such as Jordan. The research will examine past studies regarding effects of refugees in host countries while taking into consideration status of asylum seekers that has resulted in variation in outcome.
According to Castles et al. As illustrated by Castles et al. (2014), the mass movement also has effects on global change. International Politics and immigration The world has witnessed an increase in the international migration of people since the 9/11 attacks in the United States. There has been an increase in the series of terror activities including attacks on buses, airports, and trains as was witnessed in Spain and United Kingdom in 2004 and 2005 respectively. The events led to the growing notion linking international migration to terrorism (Castles et al. Some of the identified impacts included environmental degradation, slow down in economic growth, increase in public and social welfare costs, effects in the markets and increase in political tension in the already volatile states.
The effects are also felt in the provision of education, health and infrastructure. Some of the positive attributes include provision of new skills, boosting growth in population, solving labor shortfall, and providing expanded market for manufactured goods and services (Castles et al, 2014; Zetter, 2012; World Development Report, 2011). Who is a refugee? It is essential to understand who a refugee is in order to understand how they influence socioeconomic factors. The legal document of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention indicates that displaced people have rights and the receiving countries have an obligation to protect them under the international law. Given the understanding about refugees, it is essential to analyze their impact on the host countries. Methodology The research is based on the use of documented literature and studies regarding the socioeconomic impact of Syrian refugee influx on Jordan.
The methodology follows the guidelines laid out by Bryman (2015) regarding social research. It considers the context of the research with regards to how knowledge is produced and disseminated. This includes influence of the political class, the role of value and ethical considerations, and other elements that influenced the outcome of the research. It is also estimated that only about 10 percent of the total refugees were legally registered. The high number of refugees led to drastic increase in the prices of basic commodities such as food, housing, and health system. There was also an increase in black market jobs. A study conducted by the University of Jordan under the Center of Strategic Studies indicated that the influx of Iraqi refugees contributed to the rise in inflation rates from 1.
6 to 6. Despite the impact on the environment, the benefits on the local community was superior as it led to improvement in the quality of life (World Development Report, 2011). Turkey is one of the countries that has hosted Syrian refugees. This has led to an increase in the number of humanitarian agencies that manage the refugees leading to new employment opportunities for the Turkish citizens. Similar occurrences have been witnessed in Lebanon with the contribution of Syrian refugees to the economy estimated at US$74 million. Most of the money is channeled to housing and other social amenities (WANA, 2015). Apart from impact on the economy, the influx of refugees often brings about social tension. This is often made worse by the economic effects that exposes the social imbalance between the refugees and the local residents.
In countries where the economy is impacted negatively, there are increasing possibilities for racism, xenophobia, and political tensions (Dadush and Niebuhr, 2016). The case of Syrian refugees in Jordan The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has periodically experienced inflow of refugees from neighboring countries throughout its history. The country experienced the first major influx of refugees by the Palestinians during their exodus in 1948 after the establishment of the State of Israel. The surge in refugees has led to economic strain on the Jordanian government. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the Jordanian public dept has nearly doubled from around US$ 19 billion to about US$36 billion in 2016. The national budgeting deficit has reached US$1. 8 billion with about UD$600 million deficit on subsidized water and electricity supplies.
The political elite and government representatives have blamed the growing economic burden on influx of refugees (Hüser, 2016; Luck, 2016). The same rhetoric is being used with the case of the Syrian refugees as the Jordanian community is continuously told by the media and its government that it is having to undertake unreasonable costs in sustaining the refugees (Hüser, 2016: 81). The most affected sector in Jordanian economy is the labor market. Most Syrians are willing to work for more hours for a payment that is below the market rate. The trend has resulted in economic and social tensions between the refugees and Jordanians. However, considering that only about 38,000 Syrians have joined the working class constituting about 3. However, a study by Hüser (2016) indicated that overcrowding in schools was already a problem that existed before the influx of refugees.
As opposed to the approach taken by Lebanon, Jordan created for camps for the refugees. The Zaatari camp was the first to open in 2012 in the city of Mafraq, which was followed by Emirati Jordanian Camp in 2013 and lastly the Azraq Camp of Zarqa in 2014. It is noteworthy that most of the refugees live outside the camps. The issue of social conflict was investigated in a poll in September 2012 with 80 percent of the Jordanians arguing that the refugees should remain within the camps (Hüser, 2016: 81;92). Despite the cost implications, the presence of refugees can also spur economic growth through increase in production capacity and growth in demand. The presence of both positive and negative impacts makes analysis of refugee influx a complex process.
The growing hardships witnessed in Jordan that is largely blamed on the refugees is as a result of structural weaknesses in the state that has allowed mismanagement of humanitarian aids. The Syrian refugees have played a crucial role in boosting the Jordanian economy through establishment of at least 500 new companies. This has created new jobs to the local economy that was reflected in the economic performance of 2012 and 2013. ” Forced Migration Review. http://www. fmreview. org/syria/alkilani. html. https://www. chathamhouse. org/publication/syrian-refugees-jordan-confronting-difficult- truths. Carrion Dorris. “Hard Paths Ahead: Syrian Refugees in Jordan. “Syria Conflict Anniversary: The Worst Refugee Crisis in Recent History” The telegraph. http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10692931/Syria-conflict- anniversary-the-worst-refugee-crisis-in-recent-history. “The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Its Impact on Jordan: In Reference to the Regime’s Structural Deficits.
” In The Levant in Turmoil: Syria, Palestine, and the Transformation of Middle Eastern Politics, eds. Martin Beck, Dietrich Jung, and Peter Seeberg. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 215. IRIN. edu/content/article/jordan-s-syrian-refugee-economic- gamble. Sadek George. “Legal Status of Refugees: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. ” Legal Status of Refugees Saliba, Issam. 2016 Refugee Law and Policy available at https://www. “The Iraqi Refugees in Jordan. ” In The Iraqi Refugees: The New Crisis in the Middle East, I. B. Tauris. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com. http://repository. upenn. edu/joseph_wharton_scholars. Simon, Alex and Abdulrahman Al-Masri. “Syrian Refugees in Jordan Spark Tensions, but Also Growth. “Syria Regional Refugee Response - Regional Overview. ” UNHCR. http://data. unhcr. org/syrianrefugees/regional. worldbank. org/EXTWDR2011/Resources/6406082- 1283882418764/WDR_Background_Paper_Refugees.
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