Young people constitute more than half of global refugee populations, yet there has been limited research into the impact of displacement on transitions into adult life. With the average period of protracted displacement extending beyond 20 years, there is a need to examine how the experience of being a refugee shapes the expectations and life courses of young people. This paper examines the effects of weak and restricted labour markets on the transitions of young refugees into adulthood. Drawing from research undertaken with displaced children and youth in Uganda and Jordan, the paper explores how a lack of work opportunities impacts on individual ability to achieve financial independence and more widely to obtain the social recognition associated with adulthood. The research finds how a dependence on precarious work and the effects of legal restrictions on employment curtail transitions to adulthood, highlighting the importance of national and humanitarian policy support to help young refugees establish stable livelihoods.
- youth transitions