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.
Freetown – With more than 14,000 Ebola cases and nearly 4,000 deaths, Sierra Leone was one of the hardest hit countries by the 2014 – 2016 outbreak. Ebola overwhelmed the country’s fragile public health system, which was still rebuilding after a brutal civil war, and struggling to meet demands for additional healthcare practitioners.
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.
Kinshasa—While the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is confronting the public health emergency posed by COVID-19, the country is still facing the last phase of its Ebola virus epidemic.
Kabul – As the global fight against COVID-19 continues, Afghanistan is struggling to safely absorb the over 271,000 people who have returned from neighbouring Iran and Pakistan since January at a time when infection rates in the capital are worryingly high.
Banjul – The rapid spread of COVID-19 in West and Central Africa, which has infected over 8,000 people and led to the deaths of over 200, has led to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Tegucigalpa – Since 1 March, Honduras has received returning migrants from the United States at a rate of 100 men and women per day. Thus far none have tested positive for COVID-19, yet the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been helping Honduran authorities to prepare for any sign of the contagion appearing.
Niamey - Together with the ministries of Interior, Humanitarian Action, Health and Foreign Affairs in Niger, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 1,400 stranded Nigerien migrants after returning from Burkina Faso last weekend through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. They were mainly miners who fled violence last month in Burkina Faso’s southern district.
Nicosia – The number of COVID-19 case in Cyprus has dropped over the past three weeks (837 confirmed cases and 15 deaths overall) but the risk of infection persists among the most vulnerable communiti
1,300 Nigerien Gold Miners Stranded in Burkina Faso, IOM to Assist their Return Amid Border Closures
Ouagadougou – Over 1,300 Nigeriens are currently stranded in Burkina Faso after fleeing clashes in Diebougou, a gold mining region in that country’s south. Lacking means to use public transportation,