The world has found itself in a situation it has never seen before. The Covid-19 pandemic had a global impact on our health, lives, economy and our way of living. Even now, more than a year after it struck we are left wondering, when will this end? What will it take to put a stop to this?
Since the start, we have lost more than 1.65 million lives, the global GDP contracted by more than 10% in the first half of 2020 alone and major European countries experienced drops in both output and private consumption of up to 20% (OECD 2020).
Early evidence on the impact of lockdown measures during the first coronavirus outbreak has unveiled the unequal labor market consequences of individuals with different socio-demographic characteristics. Pandemic-induced job losses were concentrated among low-wage industries and occupations, young workers, the low educated, women, and ethnic minorities (Adams-Prassl et al. 2020, Cortes and Forsythe 2020, Couch et al. 2020, Hapiku and Petrongolo 2020, Basso et al. 2020).
Migrant workers are among the most vulnerable groups in business cycle fluctuations. As relative new entrants in the labor market who typically face linguistic and institutional barriers to access occupations, migrants are generally more likely to have non-standard or informal contracts, shorter job tenure, and lower-skilled occupations than comparable natives.
According to the OECD research, almost 1 million of migrant workers in Europe alone are at high risk of losing their job.
As the results of the lockdowns start to show, we much take action to protect migrant workers from unfair business practices and termination of their employment. Some of them will not be able to return to their countries of origin due to the restrictions on travel and may wind up on the street. We must prevent that scenario. Let us give to these workers commitment and compassion while showing them that we appreciate all the work they are doing over here, so they can feed their families at home.