Language Roulette? Refugee Placement and its Effect on Labor Market Integration

in a nutshell #4
Daniel Auer
January 2017

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Messages for Decision-Makers

Randomly assigning asylum seekers to a canton is a neutral, transparent allocation mechanism from an administrative perspective. However, it fails to consider individual characteristics.

Asylum seekers placed in a canton where the language spoken is familiar to them have a higher chance of finding employment than those allocated to a region where the language is alien to them.

Participation in a language course increases their chances of finding employment.

To retain random placement yet mitigate its negative effects, federal and cantonal authorities should ensure a comprehensive provision of language courses.