The outbreak of COVID-19 and the measures taken to stem the spread of the virus are having impacts on the migration field. The European Migration Network (EMN) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have launched a series of informs on the impact of COVID-19 in different areas of migration in the EU Members States, Norway and the UK. The first inform “EU and OECD Member States responses to managing residence permits and migrant unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic” was released on the 30th of July.
The key findings of the first inform indicate that vulnerable communities including third-country nationals are being especially affected by the impacts of the pandemic. Many countries have introduced temporary measures with regard to the processing of applications for, and issuance and renewal of, residence permits to prevent legally staying migrants from falling into an irregular situation, and for those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
The measures taken include, inter alia, extension of authorisation to stay to migrants who were unable to leave because of the pandemic, facilitated online applications, easing of employment restrictions, and facilitated access to unemployment benefits for migrants. The Inform also explores the consequences of travel bans and analyses the measures taken to mobilise the migrant health workforce.
Future Informs will cover the COVID-19 impact on international students; maintaining key legal migration flows in times of pandemic; reduction or loss of remittances; and return issues. Their publication is foreseen from August to November 2020. A webinar will be hosted for each publication. Follow the EMN publications page for more information.
This first joint EMN-OECD inform is accompanied by a working document that supports and provides supplementary information on the responses and measures put in place by governments in the EU and Norway to manage residence permits (Chapter One); and unemployment and/or income loss of legal migrant workers (Chapter Two) in order to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic. Supplementary information on these issues for each participating EMN NCP is included in Annex 1.