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01 Dec 2021

World Migration Report 2022: Chapter 5 - The Great Disrupter: COVID-19’s impact on migration, mobility and migrants globally

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This chapter provides an analysis of the impacts of the pandemic on migration and mobility, with particular reference to migrants’ immobility and vulnerabilities. It focuses on the first year of COVID-19. For people who had migrated, been displaced and/or were part of a highly mobile group prior to COVID-19, the likelihood of having been directly affected by the pandemic is especially high. Aside from health-related impacts, many became trapped in immobility and unemployed, without income support or other social protection. COVID-19 led to large-scale stranded migrant populations, with some experiencing destitution, detention and abuse.

COVID-19 highlighted that widely accepted norms previously considered to be cornerstones of international mobility were quickly set aside in the face of the pandemic. The pandemic also pointed to pervasive inequalities deeply rooted in modern-day societies around the world, while also demonstrating that migrant workers and diaspora are frontline workers not only in essential occupations, but also as agents of global human development as remitters.