Migrants in Asia and the Pacific at Higher Risk of COVID-19 and its Socioeconomic Fallout
Bangkok – The COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic fallout pose great risks to migrants in the Asia-Pacific, a new United Nations report reveals. They are more likely to be exposed to the virus, lack access to health care and other essential services, be stranded in countries without work or social protection and face rising xenophobia. However, as essential workers and remittance providers, migrants are also key to recovering better.
Unlike nationals, migrants have generally not been included in social security provisions like unemployment insurance or income support. Migrants have also been disproportionately affected by border closures and lockdowns, leaving many vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
This exclusion of migrants poses major threats to their human rights and well-being. Poverty reduction efforts in the region are likely to be affected too as will the effort to build stronger, more inclusive and resilient communities. Migrant remittances to the Asia-Pacific region, which rose from $183 billion in 2009 to $330 billion in 2019, have declined due to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving many households of migrants without a major source of income.
These findings are among the key conclusions of the Asia-Pacific Migration Report 2020, released today on International Migrants Day. The report was produced by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Regional United Nations Network on Migration for Asia-Pacific in preparation for the first Asia-Pacific Regional Review of Implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration scheduled to take place in March 2021. The Report was drafted by ESCAP, ILO, IOM and OHCHR, with inputs from UNAIDS, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UN-Women and WFP.