Migrant domestic workers in Singapore have always faced multiple restrictions on their mobilities and rights: their stays are governed by the most restrictive of work permits which require them to live in employers’ homes. They have one day off per week (or in some cases, fortnight or month), and many suffer ongoing forms of exploitation and abuse behind the closed doors of their employers’ homes as labour legislation does not apply to domestic workers.
This contribution is based on the testimonies of about 25 frontline workers who, despite the dangers associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued to support vulnerable groups including: undocumented migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, young people in special youth care, homeless people, and overall, people in poverty.
Restrictions impeding access to asylum, spiraling gender-based violence, risks of unsafe returns, and loss of livelihoods are among some of the deep and hard-hitting impacts the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on refugees, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, warned today.
Among the actions taken by the Italian government to manage the arrival of migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic were the so-called ‘quarantine ships’ (former passenger ferries). The first experiment took place on the Rubattino where, between 17 April and 5 May 2020, 183 people were hosted.
COVID-19 has not affected all communities equally, and within the United States, racial and ethnic minority groups have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Reports indicate that immigrants and refugees, who constitute a large portion of the minority frontline workforce in healthcare, agriculture, and food supply chain industry, are at a higher risk of exposure to the virus.
We hate to admit it, but we look at the world through gendered lenses. Women refugee and asylum seekers often deal with a triple disadvantage: immigration status, refugee status and gender.
Sayaka Osamani Törngren and Henrik Emilsson (of the GLIMER project’s Sweden team) have published a second national report on Sweden as part of the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (NIEM) project. NIEM is a six-years long, transnational project supporting key actors in the integration field to improve the integration outcomes of beneficiaries of international protection.
In recent weeks, according to the United Nations, at least 167 countries have either fully or partially closed their borders. These travel restrictions seem an important means to help contain the pandemic, but they are also proving to be a way for some countries to forfeit their asylum responsibilities.
On Wednesday night, peaceful demonstrations by asylum seekers protesting pandemic accommodation conditions were disrupted by far-right groups, who occupied Glasgow’s George Square and prevented the protest from going ahead.
How should one define the flows of migrants during periods of crisis? This is a question that is frequently answered in a myriad of ways. At the moment, there is a fairly high level of agreement, on the causes affecting the flows of forced migrants as a whole (e.g. wars, disasters, territorial conflicts, persecution, epidemics, climate change, etc.).
Migrant Women Press spoke with individuals and organisations working with migrant women in Italy to learn how COVID-19 is affecting their lives and activities, and most importantly, what they are doing to overcome these difficulties.
On 23 March 2020 the Swedish-Somali Physician Association highlighted that six out of the first 15 deaths in Sweden due to COVID-19 were of Somali background. They pointed to the lack of information about the coronavirus and how to avoid COVID-19 in languages other than Swedish and English.
As the coronavirus pandemic ravages economies and societies across Europe and beyond, we’ve seen the welfare of displaced migrants tumble even further down host countries’ list of priorities. Ironic, really, as now more than ever, we are relying on migrant workers to keep up even a semblance of an operational society.
I nostri stakeholder della Comunità Progetto Sud discutono del lavoro svolto con rifugiati e migranti in Calabria, nel sud Italia.
Our stakeholders from Comunità Progetto Sud discuss the work they have been doing with refugees and migrants in Calabria, South Italy.
Most language training policies for asylum seekers and refugees in Cyprus have been designed without taking gender into consideration. The issue with such policies is that to be gender neutral is to be gender blind — in other words, they fail to address the specific needs and realities of women, leading to unequal access to learning opportunities.
In Scotland, there are a number of organisations which specialise in supporting refugees’ access to the labour market, including the Bridges Programme, the Scottish Refugee Council, and Radiant and Brighter. Entrepreneurial support is also provided by Business Gateway, though stakeholders reported high degree of localised variation in refugee specialisms.
Housing for asylum seekers and persons granted international protection is a contested issue. The state relies on local municipalities to settle refugees, and on the other hand, local governments experience housing shortages and need to make decisions how to prioritise between different groups in need of apartments.
On 14th September 2018, the text of the decree-law amending the regulations on immigration, international protection and the granting and revocation of Italian citizenship was approved by the Council of Ministers. It subsequently became law on 1st December and is now known as the legge Salvini. This restrictive new legislation distils what we might consider to be the “Salvini strategy” regarding the reception system for applicants for international protection and refugees.
According to Eurostat’s records, Cyprus had the highest number of first-time asylum applicants in Europe (relative to population) during the second quarter of 2018. The number of asylum applications in the first eight months have exceeded 4,500, marking an increase of 55% from 2017. The growing needs of the increasing asylum seeking population continue to be insufficiently tackled by the state.
Reports last week that local authorities participating in the Dispersal Scheme are considering withdrawing from the Scheme are alarming but perhaps not surprising. Dispersal is a programme run by the UK government to accommodate asylum seekers in locations across the UK on a no-choice basis. Since its implementation at the turn of the Millennium, it has attracted controversy, especially around issues relating to the housing of asylum seekers.
In September, we held our second consortium meeting at the University of Calabria. As part of our meeting we visited local SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) projects, and met those who work in, and benefit from them. In this blog, our Co-Investigator, Tim Peace, details our experience, and analyses the impact current government legislation is likely to have on these projects.
On 29 July 2018, private asylum accommodation provider, Serco, announced that with one day’s notice, they would be changing the locks on up 300 residences occupied by asylum seekers whose applications had been refused by the Home Office. The decision has been met with shock and anger both by Glasgow City Council and by the third sector and community networks that support refugees in Glasgow.
Today in Cyprus, a small European island nation of less than a million, 18,522 residence permits for foreign domestic workers are active, most of whom, as mentioned above, are female. Apart from these formal statistics, estimates say that the island hosts an additional 30,000 undocumented domestic workers.
Up until the latter part of the 20th century, the southern regions of Italy were sites of emigration. Since the 1990s however, some of these areas – originally points of departure – have progressively transformed into areas for the arrival and reception of different types of migration.
Later this year Sweden will go to the polls for the general election. With the pre-electoral debate in full swing, the political issues receiving the most attention are integration and migration. In this context it appears political parties are competing over which might promote a restrictive integration and migration political agenda.
Nasar Meer, Emma Hill and Tim Peace ask why do migration policies fail?
Certainly they may be poorly designed and delivered, but amongst the reasons experts point to is that ‘success’ can be so politically unpalatable that few national level actors are willing to expend the political capital in pursuing them.