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.
Pohnpei – The Republic of Palau (ROP), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) remain free of COVID-19 due to the decision to close their borders in March 2020 when many countries opted to remain open. While the three countries are at varying stages of reopening, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will continue to work with government partners to further strengthen their capacity to prevent, detect and respond to a potential outbreak of COVID-19.
Republic of the Marshall Islands Holds First Pacific Island Nation COVID-19 Tabletop Exercise and Simulation
Majuro – The Republic of the Marshall Islands has conducted the first COVID-19 Tabletop Exercise (TTX) and Simulation among Pacific Island nations.
Burkina Faso Records One Million Internally Displaced, Its Most Ever, as Violence Rages Amid COVID-19
Ouagadougou – More than a million people have been internally displaced by the upsurge in violence in Burkina Faso, according to the country’s National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR) findings in an August 2020 report.
IOM, Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Bus Campaign to Promote COVID19 and Safe Migration Messaging
Vientiane – This week (20-08) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) officially launched a bus campaign to strengthen COVID-19 and safe migration messaging efforts on public transport in Vientiane Capital.
San José – Almost 60 per cent of those intending to migrate decided to postpone or cancel their plans due to the pandemic. Over 20 per cent of those already living as migrants are considering returning to their country of origin as soon as their economic conditions or the health measures adopted by their countries allow them to. About half of all migrants in Central America and Mexico lost jobs due to the pandemic.
Brasília – Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, some 355 Venezuelans refugees and migrants –as well as other migrants from elsewhere – have been supported by the new phase of “Pana,” an initiative by Caritas Brazil, launched jointly with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In different Brazilian localities, IOM and Caritas are providing food, safe housing, hygiene and personnel items. The partners also are offering assistance with socio-economic integration.
Abuja – On Sunday (16 August), 68 Nigerian women stranded in Lebanon returned home safely on a charter flight organized by the Federal Government of Nigeria arriving at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Stranded Sierra Leoneans Return Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Part of 2,800 Returns Along Humanitarian Corridors in West, Central Africa
Freetown —This week (13 August), 59 Sierra Leoneans stranded in Senegal since the outbreak of COVID-19 returned home safely via air charter flight, bringing to 2,800 the number of people assisted with voluntary return in the region by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with financial support from the European Union.
Berlin – Despite the mobility restrictions put in place in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, over 1,200 migrants lost their lives during migration in the first half of 2020, according to data from IOM’s IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.