The spread of COVID-19 has had dire consequences for the earnings and employment of workers in Europe. As in most recessions, immigrants are among the most vulnerable workers. The estimate is that the pandemic-induced recession puts 9 million immigrant workers at high risk of unemployment in Europe.
Facing the prospect of seeing their health system overwhelmed, most European governments had few policy options available and resorted to partial or total lockdowns of their economies. These measures played an important role in curbing the spread of the virus, but the costs exacted in terms of employment losses on European economies are still to be quantified, as are their distributional impacts.
Migrants are overrepresented in many frontline occupations, in particular in the healthcare, cleaning services and agriculture, where they have greater exposure to the virus. Additionally, business closures and restrictions to movement, combined with lack of, or limited, access to social protection, increased migrants’ vulnerability.
The impacts of the crisis affect migrants differently, depending on their migratory and working status. Faced with unemployment, wage cuts, suspensions and deteriorating work conditions, regular migrants in formal jobs might have access to all or certain benefits of social protection, while the others are faced with little or no support. In particular, the lack of access to health services can be critical in a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic not only for the migrant and his/her family, but also for society as a whole due to the risk of spreading the virus.
In Aster International we make it our vision to help migrant workers get the treatment they need and deserve, without exploitation and mistreatmanet that can occure while the labor market is normal, let alone in the pandemic we are currently facing. Social protection is something that is well developed in Europe, but when it comes to migrant workers, their protection is not sufficient by far.
Let us all take a stand for workers all over the world and make sure they have a secure, productive environment where they can grow proffesioaly while having enough funds to take care of their loved ones.
Socially responsible recruitment and treatment of migrant workers all the way!