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Article

22 Apr 2020

Author:
Paula Erizanu, The Guardian

EU urged to establish common approach towards protection of migrant workers as COVID-19 exposes lack of social security

"Stranded or shunned: Europe's migrant workers caught in no-man's land", 16 April 2020

Many people from Europe’s poorest regions, who took advantage of freedom of movement, are now caught in a no-man’s land, with border closures, no repatriation flights if they’ve lost their low-paid jobs, few savings, and limited or no access to a state safety net by virtue of anomalous social security provisions. If they do manage to return home, some face the suspicion that they have brought the virus with them...

Austria ... defied border closures by organising charter flights from Romania and Bulgaria to bring in hundreds of 24-hour care workers to look after elderly and vulnerable people...

Although they are EU citizens, many lack national insurance numbers or even bank accounts in Austria...

Popa [who runs a group representing carers] wants better regulation of the sector and more robust employment contracts...

The contagious nature of Covid-19 creates a public health paradox: if migrant workers, undocumented or otherwise, are unable to seek medical help or social assistance when sick, they will continue working, putting the wider community’s health at risk...

As the EU attempts to establish a common approach to lockdown exit and the economic consequences of the pandemic, it is now also being urged to advocate for a common approach towards migrants...

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