The background document number 9 of FOCSIV (here to download), as product of the Faces of Migration project, touches on a topic of extreme relevance at this time: the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on migration in some member states of the European Union.

The pandemic has a direct effect on migration by closing borders, movements of people have collapsed. However, forced migrants from conflict and persecution could not be stopped. Flows to the European Union were reduced but still remained above 50000 in 2020. This proves that migration is a structural factor.

On the other hand, our economies have shown themselves to be in part dependent on foreign labor, as in the case of agriculture. Many associations of migrants have contributed to social protection from the virus in our societies. Migrants are active participants and contributors to sustainable development. And yet they are also among those who have suffered most from the economic and social crisis because they are among the least protected. The attempts of xebnophobic organizations to blame migrants as vectors of the virus, had little effect because the news were false and instrumental. In Italy, for example, only 0.4% of persons affected by virus were migrants in reception centers.

In this context, the New Pact on Migration and Asylum and the action plan on integration and inclusion presented by the European Commission must take into consideration the effects of the health and social crisis generated by Covid-19. It is necessary to improve the condition of vulnerability of irregular migrants, often outside of health systems, as well as ensure and strengthen their social and economic inclusion.

In this sense, Member States in Europe should invest more resources in policies aimed both at promoting safer migration pathways (such as humanitarian corridors and resettlement, but also economic migration) and fully integrating migrant communities in destination countries while avoiding their social exclusion.

Here the new EU action plan on the integration and inclusion:

Download the document there:  COVID19 and migration: perceptions from some EU member states.