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5 Best Work Opportunities for Immigrants and Refugees in 2021

5 Best Work Opportunities for Immigrants and Refugees in 2021

Work opportunities for immigrants and refugees are essential for successful integration into society and becoming part of the host country’s economic fabric. In the absence of work, social support like housing, free healthcare or child support are equally important to help them earn their place in society.  

Skills and qualifications are critical, as they really can make a difference in finding quality employment. But even though skills are decisive determinants to the kind of jobs they can find, they are not the main indicators of how well they can integrate or perform in the labour market.

All things being equal, what type of jobs are typically good work opportunities for immigrants and refugees?

The Importance of work opportunities for immigrants and refugees

Immigrants and refugees in the EU account for 21.6 million third-country nationals or 5.2% of the total EU population. Therefore, we are talking about a significant amount of people with no economic means to support themselves or relatives to get help from. Employment is critical for them to sustain themselves or send money back to their families.

Without employment or proper support, those people are likely to become marginalized and socially excluded with severe social consequences. Therefore, it is to the benefit of each state to provide work opportunities for immigrants and refugees. Their integration into society becomes easier and helps bridge the cultural differences and prejudices that exist.

However, effective labour integration can also have economic benefits. Migrants and refugees can help with labour shortages and contribute to maintaining sustainable welfare systems in the long term. Demographics is a big issue in Europe as populations are getting older, while the ratio of workers to retirees declines.  

The best jobs for immigrants and refugees

Countries or regions that conflict-ridden neighbour zones are more likely to have a high influx of immigrants and refugees. Therefore, there is a high demand for jobs, mainly for unskilled labour positions.  Specifically, Europe is close to the Middle East and Africa, torn by war in recent years. Being a safe and prosperous continent, Europe is a desired destination for many refugees coming from those areas.

So, what are the best jobs that immigrants and refugees can typically find and do in Europe?

1. Interpreters and cultural mediators

With the high number of refugees endangering their lives to cross to Europe in the last years, there came the proliferation of refugee camps primarily in entry European points like Greece, Spain and Italy.

As there is a waiting period for Asylum seekers to get a permit to continue their journey mainly towards the northern wealthier parts of Europe, they need to wait in these camps. But, as we are walking about thousands of people and for, at many times, long waiting times, Interpreters and cultural mediators are essential to facilitate the whole process. There is high demand in refugee camps for interpreters that know languages like Farsi or Arabic. They act as mediators between EU officials, organizations, agencies and refugees.

2. Personal appearance workers

Personal appearance workers are employed in the personal care services industry. This industry covers jobs like barbers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, skin and nail specialists. In order to become professional care professionals, you need to be licensed. The only way to achieve this is through formal training and by doing apprenticeships to learn the job. It is an industry with increased demand as personal care is constantly on the rise.

3. Agricultural workers

This may be a labour-intensive job, but agriculture has many employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees. With the majority of the EU population now living in cities, there is demand for agricultural workers to gather, grade or sort agricultural products. The increase in university graduates led Europeans away from the countryside and towards less labour-intense jobs with better salaries.

4. Construction workers

Immigrants and refugees that are looking for work can also check out jobs in construction. Employment in construction is primarily for men as compared with agriculture, it is way more labour intense. Similarly, you can still find university graduates in construction, but mainly as engineers or architects. That means more worker positions open for low-skilled labour like migrants and refugees most of the time.

5. Maids and cleaners

There are many work opportunities for migrants and refugees in the cleaning industry too. Being a maid or a cleaner does not necessarily require specific training, and it can be done by men and women alike. Other benefits of a job in the cleaning industry are that workers work most of the time in a protected environment. They get to meet and speak with locals and receive people’s appreciation for keeping a safe and clean environment, especially during COVID-19.


There are many employment opportunities that immigrants and refugees can do. The above is not an extensive list of jobs that they can find, but most of them are jobs that they can do almost immediately.

Employment is essential for their survival and to have a better quality of life. Being employed will guarantee a salary that they can spend for their needs. Still, it is also a great source of skills development. Those skills can make their life easier. They will have the skills and the experience to start working again in a similar position in the future, possibly in another country.

Low skill jobs may not be the best money resource as they are typically low paid. However, they are in abundance in the western world for various reasons, and it is an excellent point for those who want to start building a new life.

Have a look at IntegrAction project

IntegrAction is an Erasmus+ project whose aim is to support refugees and asylum seekers integrate into European society.

Specifically, IntegrAction partners work together to promote the social and economic inclusion of the refugees and asylum seekers in the local context of reception. They seek to provide lifelong learning and entrepreneurial opportunities for refugees, reduce xenophobia in local populations, and increase the collaboration between authorities, organizations and institutions in integration processes. 

To learn more about the project, click here.

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