It is not a novel idea that migrants were among those who suffered from the Covid-19 crisis. Despite the borders closure across Europe, migrant crisis continued to evolve, and many routes have been revived throughout the 2020. This article will present the OECD report on migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report that the pandemic had hit migrants particularly hard. Migrations have declined significantly, which is economically detrimental to both sides. The pandemic and its aftermath have changed the lives of people all over the planet. However, migrants are significantly more affected by the crisis than others. It was established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which brings together Western industrialized countries.
Migrants have contributed to the maintenance of essential services in societies and during restrictive measures – in healthcare, small shops, and delivery. Even during the strongest wave of contagion, governments made an exception at harvest time and opened borders for seasonal field workers. The OECD has calculated the average share of migrants in individual calls. For example, 24 percent are doctors of foreign origin, and 16 percent are hospital staff and caregivers. Hence the higher percentage of migrants who became infected with the corona virus. Often the way of living is also a factor – they have less living space at their disposal than the local population. In the countries covered by the survey, the risk of infection is at least twice as high for migrants as for other population groups.
This population group is more affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic than others. Many of them work in the hospitality and hotel industry and in tourism – that is, in those industries that are now struggling to survive. In the European Union, as many as a quarter of employees in the hospitality industry are foreigners from countries outside the EU. This is twice as much as the average in the overall economy. In this industry, employment contracts are usually limited in time. That is why migrants are often the first to lose their jobs. An important aspect of the problem is the closure of schools. Migrant children are particularly affected by the introduction of home-based learning and online instruction. On average, their parents have less money for computers, less space at home, and because of language difficulties, they can, on average, help their children less with homework.
That is why there is a noticeable tendency that teaching at home brings more difficulties to migrant children than to their peers from domestic families. The pandemic has drastically reduced the mobility of people in the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is estimated that in the first half of 2020, it was halved. Closure of borders and restriction of travel canceled flights, all this has contributed to this reduction in the number of passengers. The OECD estimates that this will not improve soon, even as the economy recovers.
The reason is that during the pandemic, many jobs with a presence in the company turned into mobile jobs, and students also switched to online learning, so they will no longer need as much human mobility as before. However, the consequences of the pandemic will also be noticeable in the countries of origin of migrants. The amount of money that people send to their families in their homeland will decrease. Employment opportunities there will deteriorate. As countries that people traditionally immigrate to in search of work tighten measures against illegal immigration, and legal opportunities to enter those countries are reduced, this could lead to increased frustration in the countries from which people emigrate.
The OECD warns of the possibility that intolerance towards foreigners will increase in the countries that are members of this organization due to rising unemployment. Migrants are often perceived as a competition for a job. In some countries, authorities have launched a campaign to correct a misconception about migrants as carriers of the infection. The OECD sees migration positively and considers migration to be “an integral part of our lives” as well as “something that connects us”. The director of the department for employment and social issues at this interstate organization, Stefano Scarpetta, says that the pandemic taught us how much we need others. He warns that part of the progress made in the integration of migrants could be undone. Scarpetta recommends that the governments of the member states understand the integration of migrants into society as a long-term investment.