How COVID-19 has changed our understanding of migration, citizenship and inequality

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the global migration management system may not be sustainable. Temporary migration plans, including plans for seasonal agricultural workers and plans to allow construction and long-term care work, will fail if the migration of people is hampered by a dangerous and rapidly circulating virus. ..

Also, immigrants, refugees and immigrant minorities More serious impact Due to the virus, insufficient access to treatment, vaccination.

Should we therefore rethink the rights of citizens and residents? Posted worker ?? The pandemic has exposed some of the contradictions in national and global governance of immigration and the limits of integration policies.

Inside or outside?

COVID-19 raises important questions about many different ways of belonging to the country. Where is the line between initiates and outsiders and who should come in and out?

You can imagine the effective population of the country as a set of concentric circles: internal groups include citizens, then permanent residents (and EU citizens in Europe) and temporary residents who have been hospitalized in the country for a period of time. specific time period. Next come people seeking protection, asylum seekers and foreigners in general.

COVID-19 has pushed this outer circle of temporary community members into the inner circle of people who actually live in the country by forcing the border to close. At the same time, these temporary members are still often excluded internally in some countries, even if emergency unemployment or family allowances are not available.

This forced countries to consider what Canada calls an “effective place of residence” for temporary immigrants. He urged the government to ask where people usually live, where they send their children to school, where they pay taxes and if they have health insurance.

Belgium recently welcomed 400 temporary immigrants Hunger strike He demanded the right to stay in the country and is currently in negotiations with the authorities.

This shows that if effective membership in the country may still seem provisional, the pandemic raises the question of whether this notion of effective residence can be codified.

For example, protecting the consulate of a person temporarily found abroad due to a sudden border closure, or locating a second family member, such as an elderly parent or adult child who may have been separated from extended family. Pandemic restrictions which may include the right to.

Pandemic inequality

In Belgium, it is part of an ongoing research program between the Free University of Brussels and the University of Liège, focused on exposure to the COVID-19 virus and the social disparity of illness and death around the world. French-speaking country. We will also examine how pre-existing social and health inequalities increased during the first waves of the pandemic.

As research is still ongoing, no definitive conclusion can be drawn. However, some observations have already emerged.

First, people’s living conditions seem to affect their exposure to the virus, the onset of disease and, ultimately, the likelihood of death. Three factors are particularly relevant: neighborhood density and size of housing, family structure and community life. These living conditions often characterize immigrants and their families in Belgian cities.

Obviously, living in a small apartment with a dense neighborhood or an intergenerational family can increase exposure to the virus and cause severe or fatal cases of COVID-19, especially in the elderly. Increased.

The study seems to confirm that unequal access to health care and social services also has a negative effect on the health of vulnerable people in general, in particular migrants.

Finally, access to relevant information is very important. Not all residents have equal access to information on how to protect themselves and others and what to do in the event of illness. This is an important factor in explaining why migrants are particularly vulnerable to viruses.

Possibility to change

but the welfare state Like Belgium, the pandemic has revealed the weakness of immigrant membership and social citizenship.

As the pandemic pushes people in temporary but temporary positions into the inner circle of attribution, it also exposes the significant structural inequalities that migrants suffer and the gaps that exist in our social protection system. ..

But the crisis is bringing a seed of change. We can treat the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink the importance of essential workers, to fill gaps in housing and medical care, to strengthen social cohesion and sometimes solidarity with members who may be taken to extremes.


Barriers for migrants to access health care during a pandemic


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Quote: How COVID-19 Shaken Her Understanding of Transition, Citizenship, and Inequality (September 24, 2021), September 24, 2021 https://phys.org/news/2021-09 Obtained from -covid-upended-migration -citizenship-inequality .html

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How COVID-19 has changed our understanding of migration, citizenship and inequality

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