Kanlungan Filipino Consortium: We have officially launched our report on precarious Filipino migrants amid the UK’s coronavirus outbreak. Our report focuses on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and associated ‘lockdown’ in the UK on Filipino precarious migrants (a majority undocumented). The report finds that the systematic disenfranchisement of migrants through the “hostile environment” agenda has exacerbated the negative effects of the pandemic and lockdown on this group. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified and highlighted the deadly effects of the hostile environment. But it also reveals the life threatening inequalities that already existed before the outbreak.
Executive Summary: “Give a chance for all [those] without papers, like me, to feel safe” –Shane’s message to policy-makers
This report documents the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and associated ‘lockdown’ in the UK on Filipino precarious migrants (a majority undocumented). It is based on research conducted in May and June 2020, including an online survey with 78 respondents, and 15 follow-up interviews.
The report finds that the systemic disenfranchisement of migrants through the “hostile environment” agenda has exacerbated the negative effects of the pandemic and lockdown on this group. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified and highlighted the deadly effects of the hostile environment. But it also reveals the life-threatening inequalities that already existed before the outbreak.
Emerging most urgently in the participants’ accounts were the ways that hostile environment policies:
•Forced precarious migrants into informal, exploitative employment. “No work no pay” means that people are caught between the dangers of contracting or spreading the virus at work, or falling into destitution.
•Deterred precarious migrants from seeking healthcare due to the fear of being reported to immigration authorities and charged prohibitive costs for treatment.
•Pushed precarious migrants into temporary, overcrowded housing conditions that made social distancing impossible, and put them at risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
•Created constant fear and isolation that severed precarious migrants from support networks and was damaging to their mental health.
A recent report by Public Health England acknowledges the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people. Yet it fails to account for those whose migratory status deterred them from seeking diagnosis and treatment, and who therefore remain invisible in national statistics.
For precarious migrants, including those without legal status (known in the community as undocumented) or with no right to work or recourse to public funds, many of the initiatives put in place by the government to mitigate the effects of the pandemic for at-risk populations, employees, businesses, tenants and public mental health were effectively meaningless. That is why, on 27th March 2020, the Status Now Network was launched with the hashtag #healthandsafetyforall. Yet at the time of writing, their lack of access to healthcare and financial support has already cost lives and pushed many to the brink of destitution.
Distinctively, this cohortof participants contained a large proportion of domestic and care workers, whose work depends on close physical contact with others. It is noteworthy that while the UKis celebrating care workers and keyworkers as heroes, the workforce of informally employed migrant carers and cleaners has remained invisible.
Yet the experiences of this cohort are in many ways prismatic of other precarious migrants in the UK. This is because the barriers that prevent them and their families from leading safe, healthy and rewarding lives are systemic.
This report recommends that keeping precarious migrants – and by extension the general public –safe from coronavirus demands systems-level change at the intersection of immigration and public health.
Guardian: Covid-19 worsening plight of UK migrants, report finds
Survey uncovers evidence of exploitative employment and unsafe living conditions
Haroon Siddique reports on Mon 29 Jun 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has intensified the effects of the hostile environment on undocumented migrants in the UK, with many experiencing loss of income, unsafe working conditions and scared to seek help if they have the virus, a report has found.
The Kanlungan Filipino Consortium and human rights charity RAPAR uncovered evidence of exploitative employment and overcrowded living conditions, making physical distancing impossible. Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jun/29/covid-19-worsening-plight-of-uk-migrants-report-finds