Refugee Work Rights Initiative

The Refugee Work Rights Initiative is currently led by the Center for Global Development (CGD), Refugees International, and Asylum Access. The Initiative was launched by Asylum Access in 2013 to build a groundswell of support for the idea that refugees should have access to opportunity, entrepreneurship, and a fair chance at life.  The 2014 “Refugee Work Rights Report,” was a groundbreaking piece of analysis looking at the rights refugees have in law in many hosting countries around the world.

CGD and Refugees International currently lead the “Let Them Work” initiative, a project to generate evidence on the impacts of expanding economic inclusion for refugees and forced migrants around the world, and develop policy recommendations for global and national actors.

Our organizations came together in 2022 to expand the “Refugee Work Rights Report,” increasing the global coverage and including both the rights refugees have in law and the access they have in practice. To learn more about how we did this, please visit our Scorecard Methodology page.


The Global Refugee Work Rights Scorecard is an interactive online resource that provides information on how countries are implementing refugee work rights. Find out if your country is doing its part.

Thanks to our partners

We would like to thank the IKEA Foundation, Western Union Foundation, and Vitol Foundation for their generous support of this work, and all of the people and organizations who donated their time to engage with our survey and research.

We would also like to thank the individuals who appear in these photographs. All credit for photos is attributed to UNHCR; descriptions of the individuals and their stories can be found on the UNHCR Refugees Media website.