Balancing public health and economic interests whilst creating new opportunities for labor migrants

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic unveils structural weaknesses and vulnerabilities
in societal structures that we have become to take as ordinary parts of our
society. Tis especially holds true for such structures in the labor market in
general (see Chap. 5 by Bekker) and especially for labor migrants, the focus of
this chapter. Over the past decades, rigorous scholarly work contemplated the
precarious working conditions of migration workers due to labor market fexibilizations and avoidance of labor laws that have, in turn, received limited
political attention and little willingness of industries and corporations to
change these practices (Costello and Freedland 2014; Anderson and Ruhs
2010; Rijken and de Lange 2020). Te COVID-19 crisis not only augmented
these situations of precariousness but also enlarged the awareness of the
dependency of developed countries on migrant workers and, in some countries, led to a positive response by way of regularization of the migratory status
of migrant workers, e.g., in Italy. Interestingly, risks of COVID-19 outbreaks
among migrant workers exposed working and living conditions that were
known but neglected for too long. Apparently, the COVID-19 crisis has
revealed that a public health risk generated more impact than academic and
grounded research on work and living conditions of migrant workers and the
work of organizations fghting for migrant workers’ rights. In the remainder
of this chapter, I will frst address how COVID-19 has impacted the position
of migrant workers before discussing opportunities created for migrant workers and the way forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe new common
Subtitle of host publicationHow the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming society
EditorsEmile Aarts, Hein Fleuren, Margriet Sitskoorn, Ton Wilthagen
PublisherSpringer
Chapter28
Pages197-202
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-65355-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-65354-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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