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.
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.
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.