Aliyah He SS Core A / LA Core B Jan 18, 2018 Over 65 million people are forced to flee their homes and cannot return to their home country due to a terrifying amount of fear they have accumulated based on past experiences. Their lives are threatened based on their ethnicity, religion, opinions, and/or beliefs. Over half of these refugees are under 18 and some flee alone. These refugees have no choice but to live with horrific experiences and physical and mental wounds.
In Hong Kong, refugees are given a slim amount of money to live on by the government. They’re not allowed to work even when there are numerous benefits included. Hong Kong refugees must be allowed to work to lessen expense for the government, add more diversity to the workforce, and bring purpose and positive benefits to refugees and their families that will enable them to integrate into society.Refugees have been through very onerous situations, therefore, it makes it morally unacceptable to treat a refugee that is fleeing a conflict by confining them in their houses and denying them an opportunity to work. As a result of refugees being forced to live far from loved ones and stay in an isolated area in Hong Kong, it makes socializing difficult as they have no money for transportation (John). Consequently, they stay alone at their houses without anything to do. John, a refugee from the Middle East, proclaims, “We cannot even use government facilities like public swimming pools.
” Their mental health suffers because they aren’t aware if they’re safe or not because their cases can get rejected (HKFP). Refugees have accumulated bad memories from war or conflict and confining them in their houses with their horrifying memories damages their mental and emotional health (Britannica Online). This can possibly lead to a consequential and permanent detriment but can be avoided if refugees in Hong Kong are given the opportunity to work and support themselves. However, there is a chance that refugees won’t face these problems. Refugees come to have a safe future, integrating them into the society and giving them an opportunity to contribute to the economy and feel valuable will tremendously benefit their mental and emotional health (Senker 4).
Continuously denying refugees the right to work will deeply affect them. Refugees are given a slim amount of money from Hong Kong citizens’ taxes. If refugees were allowed to work, the government could fund less money towards them because they would have the opportunity to support themselves. They are given HK $1200 in food coupons, HK $1500 for housing, and HK $500 for any other expenses. Refugees go through a screening process which decides if they are allowed to stay in Hong Kong (Justice Center).
This process usually takes about 7 years (SCMP). The longer the government takes to process the claims, the more money used for refugees. The current system is unsustainable because the citizens lose money and refugees lose time (UNHCR). There is, however, a chance that refugees may not want to work. Despite this, the opportunity to work will encourage them to not be dependent on subsidence from the government and lessen the money given from government to refugees if one is working (Joseph). Many refugees are qualified professionals that were forced to leave their homes despite any businesses they had.
If allowed to work, they could bring diversity and contribute to the economy. John is a refugee from the Middle East, he was a fireman and graduated as a Power Electric Engineer. He’s capable of driving a variety of vehicles and has a lot to offer, but cannot unless given the opportunity. John says, “I’m quite healthy and handsome, I have a lot to offer; I just want another chance to start a life, be useful, and make myself and others happy; I don’t care where I work, as long as it’s safe.” Giving refugees the chance to work will not only benefit the refugees, but the economy will thrive as well. Now some argue that allowing refugees to work will limit the jobs available for locals.
While this may be true, it is also the case that refugees can create businesses and jobs to be available that locals can apply for (TIME). One legally employed refugee works for Christian Action and starts fundraisers, raises awareness, and advocates and advises other refugees. “Having this job gave me an opportunity to help others and recover my dignity” (Anon.). These refugees have skills, talents, and aspirations. In Uganda, refugees can work and recorded data shows many cases in which refugees demonstrate diverse entrepreneurship.
For example, one set up a community radio station and made documentary films and screened them. Refugees have had a positive contribution to the Ugandan economy and are quite diverse in the range of different income generating strategies they pursue. In Uganda’s capital Kampala, 20% of refugee-owned businesses have at least one employee and of those employed, 40% are citizens of the host country (RSC). Betts, a director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project, shares, “Not only when given the opportunity they are creative, entrepreneurial, innovative, but can contribute to the host society they’re part of” (PBS). Therefore, the evidence clearly states that in Uganda when the refugees are given the opportunity to work, they’ve created more job opportunities for not only other refugees, but also citizens of the host country. As noted, in order to contribute and advance the economy’s diversity, diminish distressing emotions, and lessen the money given from the government to refugees, Hong Kong refugees must be given the opportunity to work.
As stated earlier, refugees can give a positive contribution to the national economy only if given the opportunity. They are commonly viewed as burdens to the host country, which is a huge misunderstanding. Refugees should not be viewed as passive victims because they have the capacity to contribute only when given the chance. After all, how can you expect refugees to contribute and benefit the host society and not be a burden when you don’t give them an opportunity to?