Research project

COVID-19 and Systemic Resilience: What Role for Migrant Workers?

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised urgent questions about the factors that promote and impede the resilience of the provision of essential goods and services such as food, health services, and social care. The pandemic highlighted that migrants play an important yet variable role in these services across countries. Based on data from the European Labour Force Survey, we investigate empirically how the use of migrant labour varies across countries with different institutional systems for providing these services, the factors that determine the use of migrant labour, and the effects of migrants on the resilience of essential services during the pandemic. This re-evaluation of the contributions of migrant workers raises important questions about whether and under what conditions COVID-19 will lead to a fundamental longer-term re-think of immigration policies and the rights of migrant workers, especially of those working in low-paid but ‘essential’ jobs.

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