The current outbreak of COVID-19 is – first and foremost – a health issue and affecting us all. The virus has shown that it does not discriminate - but many refugees, those forcibly displaced, the stateless and migrants are at heightened risk. IOM reiterates the need for migrant-inclusive approaches, in the overall COVID-19 response and calls on countries to address the particular needs and vulnerabilities of migrants, regardless of their immigration status, particularly in the spirit of Universal Health Coverage.
Information on the Covid-19 Emergency
COVID-19 – and the measures taken to combat it – have changed almost every aspect of life for people living in the UK, including migrants. During this time, access to information is not only vital to understand the risks to our health, but also to adapt to these new circumstances and look for help when it is needed. IOM UK has created a “COVID-19 Migrant Information Service” online platform to provide multilingual information on five key areas of every-day life that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 emergency: Health, Employment, Benefits, Housing, and Immigration.
Many migrants can find it difficult to in navigate complex information as they may face linguistic barriers. Providing accessible information in multiple languages helps people to better understand the services they are entitled to and access them when needed. IOM UK is providing this information in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Romanian, Chinese, Albanian and Vietnamese, with Polish to be added soon.
Please visit www.covid19uk.iom.int to access multilingual information on COVID-19 measures and support in the UK.
In addition, IOM UK is offering a webinar, available on multiple dates, targeting frontline staff working on the COVID-19 response at a community level, to provide an overview of engaging migrant communities, diaspora leaders and migrant-led community organisations in a partnership approach to develop and communicate successful response measures. Please check the link below for further information and upcoming dates
“Engaging Migrant Communities in the Context of Covid-19: Lessons from the Field”
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at: [email protected]
The crisis is also having an unprecedented impact on mobility both in terms of regimes for border and migration management, and the situation of all people on the move, including those displaced by conflict or disaster. The global mobility has been affected in the form of various travel disruptions, restrictions and blockages. To better understand how COVID-19 affects global mobility, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been working to map the impacts on human mobility, at Global, Regional and Country level. Resources ad information are available here.
Since January, IOM’s global workforce has been mobilized across the world, and have been working with governments to plan their responses and save lives as the global health crisis evolves into the most significant mobility crisis ever. IOM COVID-19 response covers all regions of the world, and comprises a wide range of on-going and planned activities aimed at reaching the vulnerable and building operational capacities to address the mobility dimensions of this pandemic.
The EUSS continues to be open for applications from EU nationals and eligible non-EU nationals. While the deadline for applications remains 30 June 2021, it is important to apply as soon as possible. Having settled status is very helpful when seeking financial support in the event of losing a job or struggling to pay rent as it automatically proves that you have a right to reside in the UK.
While applications under the EU Settlement Scheme continue to be processed, they will take longer than usual. Many support services are currently suspended due to the coronavirus restrictions. In addition, some support services and application routes have temporarily changed:
- Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC): the SRC will no longer be answering telephone calls. It will, however, continue to respond to email enquiries and provide a call back function when required.
- ID document scanner locations: the ID document scanning services have been temporarily suspended.
- Postal route for submitting Identity evidence: the postal route for submitting identity evidence is currently suspended. The Home Office is unable to accept any documents by post, but all documents already sent to them will be returned as quickly as possible. Applications can still be made online using the EU Exit ID Document check App..
- IOM support on the EUSS: IOM caseworkers continue to advise and support vulnerable EU nationals. Local Authorities and 3rd Sector Organisations can make referrals for vulnerable individuals. Please contact [email protected] for further information and referral form.
The Covid-19 global health crisis has led to unprecedented measures including the closing of international borders, major travel restrictions and regulations put in place for public safety and health. In this context, all of the planned resettlement movements between 13 March to the end of April have been cancelled. The affected local authorities have been notified by the UK Home Office. IOM and UNHCR are supporting and keeping refugees up-to-date in the refugee-hosting countries.
We remain in close communication with our UK Home Office counterparts to monitor and review the position going forward so as to resume resettlement movements when conditions allow.
OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, WHO, IOM
Geneva- Conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic present a significant threat to life in Libya. The health and safety of the country’s entire population are at risk.
Statement by the United Nations Network on Migration
Geneva, 14 May 2020 - The United Nations Network on Migration is concerned by reports of States in many regions using forced return of migrants as a measure in response to COVID-19. The Network calls on States to suspend forced returns during the pandemic, in order to protect the health of migrants and communities, and uphold the human rights of all migrants, regardless of status. Successfully tackling the pandemic cannot be achieved without upholding human rights.
Joint IOM/UNHCR Press Release
Geneva – With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the safety and future of millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and their host communities, more than 150 organizations working across 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are appealing to the international community for an urgent increase in support.
IOM Supports Migrants Stranded on Cote d’Ivoire – Ghana Border; Border Officials Trained and Equipped Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Abidjan – Travel hassles basically come with the territory for sojourners across West Africa. But what 13 men and women experienced these recent weeks may set a new standard for delay.
Berlin – Measures implemented by governments in response to COVID-19 including port closures, delays in disembarkation, and the reduced presence of search and rescue vessels on the increasingly busy Central Mediterranean route are raising serious concerns about the fate of vessels in distress and so-called ‘invisible shipwrecks’.
Buenos Aires – Through Sunday, 10 May, Argentina has reported 6,034 COVID-19 cases and just over 300 deaths. A social, preventative and mandatory lockdown was decreed by the national Government on 20 March and most commercial and industrial activities are suspended, as are in-person classes at all education levels. Migrants here face special obstacles.
Since the arrival of COVID-19, MiTA — IOM’s new Migration Translation App—has been given a rapid upgrade to take account of the added challenges facing migrants in the Western Balkans.
Bossaso, Puntland – Hundreds of migrants are stranded in Bossaso, Puntland, Somalia, as a result of border and sea-crossing closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York – COVID-19 does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction. We need every ounce of solidarity to tackle it together. Yet the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering.