The International Refugee Match: A System that Respects Refugees’ Preferences and the Priorities of States

William Jones, Alexander Teytelboym

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There is an urgent need to overcome the political deadlock preventing States from substantively participating in burden-sharing in the international refugee regime, and, in particular, finding solutions to the European refugee crisis. We propose a centralised clearinghouse – a “two-sided matching system” – to match refugees with States. Drawing on the success of matching in domains, such as education and healthcare, we outline the principles underlying matching system design and illustrate in general terms how they could be applied to refugee protection. This matching system respects the priorities of States and gives agency to refugees. Matching systems can operate independently or alongside other burden-sharing mechanisms, such as tradable refugee quotas (as suggested by Fernández-Huertas Moraga and Rapoport). We then move to consider two specific empirical cases: international resettlement and the European migrant crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-109
Number of pages26
JournalRefugee Survey Quarterly
Issue number2
Early online date15 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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