FROM THE FIELD: COVID-19 restrictions leave migrant workers stranded

13 June 2020

In countries across the world, tens of thousands of migrant workers are finding themselves stranded through travel restrictions, in the hope of curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

IOM-supported humanitarian site in Niamey, Niger, where more than 1,300 Nigeriens are completing their 14-day COVID-19 quarantine. ., by IOM/Monica Chiriac

The scale of the problem is huge, with roughly 220 countries imposing over 60,000 travel and mobility restrictions. For many migrant workers, the consequences have been disastrous, as unemployment rises sharply in sectors that traditionally rely on their labour, such as tourism and construction.

As visas and work permits expire, the threat of deportation hangs over migrants, who also face rising stigmatization and xenophobia, homelessness, and detention in overcrowded facilities.

The UN migration agency, IOM, has put together a contemporary snapshot of stranded migrants across 17 countries; from forced quarantine in Yemen, to dire food shortages in Zimbabwe, and exploitation in Russia.

You can find out more, including the many ways that IOM is trying to help stranded workers, here.


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