Updated: Oct 4, 2020
For a migrant worker, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought severe difficulties and loss of work. The lockdowns and severe social distancing measures implemented will affect some families marginally but others quite heavily. Vulnerable migrants belong to the latter, farmers and workers on daily wages are currently desperate as they anticipate a further deterioration of their situation.
Millions of migrant workers worldwide have been impacted in Singapore, Middle East, India, Thailand, and China as they lost their jobs and had no safety net. Most migrant workers are in informal jobs and were forced to walk miles to reach home when lockdowns were implemented. They also faced a greater risk of infection, given the poor hygiene conditions they live and work in.
Social distancing for migrant workers meant no income, no support, no access to services, and no certainty when things would improve for them.
Cramped refugee camps and tough living conditions are here to stay as nations still have their borders sealed and travel restricted. It is predicted that by the end of 2020, temporary settlements and refugee camps will struggle with heightened health risks, increased psychological pressure, and severe economic damage. Despite being employed in urban workplaces, their work's informal nature left them exposed and back home in rural areas, where they had to head back to food shortages, and hygiene conditions are weighing them down.
There is an opportunity to create a rural and regional revival across nations if governments can create employment opportunities through manufacturing and small-scale industry funding.
Formalizing land and labor regulations and localizing the production of everyday goods and food will enable migrant workers to get a breadth of relief, especially given some of the jobs they have left behind in the city will probably never come back.