The last 5 months, the news globally have one main issue, news about corona virus, Covid-19. Many articles has being written on how it changes our society, mainly in the west, the globalization but also how this will affect the economy and the jobs in the next year. Its is devastating and except the death toll that every country must pay, the coming finance crisis will worsen the situation.
Usually there are some groups, mainly minorities in each countries that we tend to forget in times like this. One of these groups are the migrants. They have to live ia a foreign country, away from their extended family, often with bad paid work or no work at all or worse working in environments that are, in this dire times.
According to a report from WHO and the April data of Covid , migrants accounted for at least 10 per cent of the population in 10 of the 15 countries with the highest number of cases. Declaring Covid-19 as a pandemic there were measures imposed where tey didnt allowed the movement of persons, many migrant workers were stranded in the country they were working, without work or couldn’t go back to their work since the measures were imposed.
According to migrationdataportal.org:
164 million people were estimated to be migrant workers in 2017 (ILO, 2018). Migrant workers accounted for 20.6 per cent and 17.8 per cent of all workers in Northern America, and in Northern, Southern and Western Europe respectively (ibid.). They therefore represent about one in five workers in those countries and may be among the first to be affected by lay-offs and movement restrictions and lock downs impacting livelihoods such as losing their businesses. Living conditions in crowded housing pose a particular risk to the spread of COVID-19 among migrant workers.
Additionally, many foreign-trained doctors in the United States studied in the Caribbean Islands, the Philippines, Mexico and Canada while many practicing in the United Kingdom studied in Nigeria, Egypt, Ireland, Greece and South Africa (OECD, 2019). Migrants, regardless of where they work, make important contributions to address the pandemic but are also exposed to higher risks of contracting the virus.
As we see there is not only a big percentage of migrant workers in the west but they also are working in jobs where they could easily be infected. If the Health workers are in danger, and we know that at least they have protective gear, what happens with the workers in other key section of the economy? In food Industry or Agriculture?
For both these sectors we have the example of Germany, a state with many infected but not so many dead per million.
Early April, Germany and Romania lifted the restrictions for Romanians Harvest workers. A very bad paid job that is not insured in Germany and the workers are getting paid as less as 5 euros per hour, because the companies are renting the workers with Romanian wages, paid at the end of the work when the worker return to his/her country.
German farmers say they need about 300,000 seasonal workers for the 2020 harvest. But, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Germany’s government had until recently banned foreign harvesters — like most other foreigners — from entering the country.
Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner said the site quickly attracted interest, with about 16,000 Germans — including a few soccer players — signing up. Farmers, however, said employees with little or no experience would be of little help, especially when it comes to harvesting asparagus.
In April, farmers got reprieve. To save crops, Germany’s government decided to allow 80,000 seasonal food harvesters to enter the country — 40,000 in April and the same number in May. The deal was sealed after Klöckner and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reached agreement on April 4.Source Deutsche Welle
Also in England we had similar situations with harvest workers.
Not only for the Germans but for most of the western societies the hard, low paid job is being done from migrants, but it look a little bit inhuman when one is ready to brake the quarantine for the economy. As a result we had at least one dead In Baden-Württemberg
But it is really funny how the supporters of parties that are against migrants didn’t went first to cover the empty working places…
That was the last time I heard something about those workers, but the asparagus are still in the super markets and now the strawberries.
These are not the only migrants that have to put their lives in danger during the Covid-19 Pandemic, people working already in Slaughterhouses, generally in meat industry had their toll of the virus already.
We needed to have an incident like this in order the media to discover the working condition there. As Euronews reported :
Officials say the virus most likely spread through shared staff housing, and the outbreaks are drawing attention to the industry’s difficult working conditions.
There have been outbreaks of COVID-19 at slaughterhouses in a number of countries in recent weeks, mostly in the United States but also in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Spain.
The trend is starting to expose an uncomfortable reality: much of the cheap meat on Western supermarket shelves is slaughtered by migrant workers who earn low wages, often live together in dorms and operate in crowded working conditions even in the midst of a pandemic.Source Euronews
What we learn out of these incidents during Corona Virus?
First one thing that we knew from the beginning:
migrants are being used in jobs that the local population doesn’t want to do. Hard work and usually bad paid. Migrants also have the jobs as carers, which is also underpaid and difficult. Second the local groups who are against immigrants and believe that the immigrants are stealing their jobs and the follow and vote for extremists, where not there to get the free places as harvest workers.
The future would be difficult for migration and workers in general, here in We Migrants, we will try to cover every aspect by sharing articles from more experts than us.
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