IPA CIS, IOM, WHO Joint Statement on Migration during COVID-19
On 25-26 November 2021, IOM Moscow Chief of Mission Abdusattor Esoev and Regional Migration Health Advisor of IOM Regional Office in Vienna Jaime Calderon took part in the autumn events of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly.
On 25 November, an international conference "Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals" was held, organized jointly with the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
On 26 November, at the 53rd plenary session of the IPA CIS, a joint statement was adopted by the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Regional Office of the International Organization for Migration in Vienna and the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization "Legislative Support for Labour Migration During the Pandemic."
of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Regional Office in Vienna of the International Organization for Migration and the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization
Legislative Support for Labor Migration During the Pandemic
The global phenomenon of migration is related to the broader global economic, social, political and technological transformations that are affecting a wide range of high-priority policy issues all over the world. However, in 2020 all countries in the world faced a completely new challenge, the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on migration processes and global mobility of the population. The aftermath of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic from a global public health emergency turned into a humanitarian, social and economic crisis affecting all countries around the world.
226 countries, territories and areas have introduced over 110,000 travel restrictions. At the same time, 176 countries, territories and areas have established 712 exceptions from these general restrictions in order to facilitate transborder travels in accordance with the clearly defined criteria, including for employment purposes. At the moment, the monitoring of the situation in various states represents that there is a gradual transition from the “ban on entry” approach to “permission to enter under certain conditions”.
In the context of the global spread of the coronavirus migrants turned out to be one of the most vulnerable population groups affected by the pandemic. Many of them have faced and are facing fundamental rights violations, such as losing their livelihoods or health issues due to the limited access to medical and social services and lack of support in counties of destination or transit, among others. Overcoming the challenges that migrant workers face will require coordinated steps in the field of economy, social security, healthcare and employment, as well as closer cross-border cooperation between states. It is important facilitate regulation of this situation and provide support to migrants who need it.
The Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Regional Office in Vienna of the International Organization for Migration and the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization believe that during a global emergency both in the field of healthcare and migration processes, parliaments have a crucial role to play in providing political and legal regulation in various areas. They call on national migration and health authorities:
In the field of workforce mobility:
- to guarantee the right of all migrant workers to just and favourable conditions of work;
- to apply balanced approaches when imposing restrictions on labor markets for foreign workers, stimulate measures related to extending visas, waiving penalties and extending work permits until travel restrictions are lifted to ensure that migrants do not end up in an unsettled legal situation;
- to promote measures aimed at facilitating or continuing the hiring of temporary foreign workers making up for shortage of labor;
- to promote the coverage of migrants by the social security systems in order to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the field of healthcare:
- to guarantee in practice access of all migrants to their right to health;
- to facilitate access of migrants to health services and follow the World Health Organization guidelines on disease prevention and control;
- to ensure the availability of free COVID-19 testing, including for migrants with irregular status; to provide access to health services and health information to ensure continuity of healthcare. Provide access to free COVID-19 treatment;
- to ensure effective interaction between relevant actors at national, regional and global levels, especially in order to coordinate cross-border efforts at points of entry, including the collection and exchange of up-to-date medical data;
- to ensure occupational health and safety compliance for migrants by recognizing their particular vulnerability to COVID-19 in various working conditions;
- to include international migrant workers in national COVID-19 vaccination plans in accordance with the recommendations by the World Health Organization SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization).
The key objective for the parliaments is to legally ensure the possibility of retaining jobs and obtaining legal income for migrants, as well as maintaining access to healthcare services. Coordinated efforts and solidarity will not only improve the social and economic situation for migrants, but will also have a positive effect on the general sanitary and epidemic situation in the states.
The Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Regional Office in Vienna of the International Organization for Migration and the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization urge parliaments around the world to do their utmost to promote the creation of a legislative framework to regulate response mechanisms and ensure effective implementation of laws in the field of labor market and healthcare emergencies.
No one is safe until everyone is safe.