The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since March 2020 has amounted to an unprecedented global health crisis. In order to suppress disease transmission, governments have implemented a range of public health and social measures that in many cases exacerbate underlying socioeconomic challenges. While Pacific island countries (PICs) have only registered a small number of COVID-19 cases, they are still facing the devastating impacts on key economic sectors – such as tourism, trade and labour mobility – as a consequence of travel restrictions, border closures and quarantine measures.
To understand the impact of COVID-19 on labour mobility and broader migration trends in the Pacific region, IOM conducted a rapid assessment from May to June 2020. This report examines the perspectives of government officials, migrants awaiting departure in countries of origin, migrants (temporary and seasonal workers) in destination countries, diaspora communities, and development partners. Countries covered under the assessment include Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, in addition to Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America as countries of destination.