Monday

5th Dec 2022

EU's migrants more at risk from coronavirus

  • Stockholm: Sweden has among the highest rate of foreign-born residents in EU (Photo: Arild)

Europe's migrant population - including EU nationals seeking to better themselves in the richer north and west - are more at risk of catching coronavirus or suffering poverty due to the pandemic, a new study says.

Migrants are twice as likely as natives to catch the virus because many of them work in frontline sectors, such as healthcare, the hospitality industry, retail, delivery, and household services, according to a study by the Paris-based club of wealthy nations, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They live in more crowded homes and neighbourhoods, the study noted.

And they had "a disproportionate incidence of death even in countries with universal access to treatment for Covid-19", Stefano Scarpetta, an OECD official in charge of labour and employment, said.

Migrants made up 24 percent of doctors and 16 percent of nurses in the 36 OECD countries, which include most EU member states, as well as some far-flung nations, such as Mexico, Japan, and the US.

Many worked on temporary contracts and were the first ones who were being fired in the pandemic-related downturn, especially in southern Europe, Ireland, and Sweden.

They also faced a heightened danger of racism and xenophobia as jobs became scarce, the OECD warned.

The risk came despite the fact migration had, overall, slumped by 46 percent in the first six months of 2020 due to corona-linked travel bans.

And the slow-down also meant households in southern and eastern EU states, as well as ones in the EU neighbourhood, faced a drop in remittances.

Looking around the OECD's EU members, Austria and Sweden had the highest rates of foreign-born residents in their populations - on 19 percent.

Austria's foreigners mostly came from other EU states and the Western Balkans, while Sweden's came from Afghanistan and Syria.

Belgium (17 percent), Germany (16 percent), Spain (14 percent), France (13 percent) and the Netherlands (13 percent) also had high rates.

Most of their foreign residents were from easterly and southern EU states or from Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, and Latin American countries.

Ireland (17 percent), a financial services centre, was an anomaly, with high numbers of American and Chinese residents.

Luxembourg, another financial centre, was even more unusual, with a 46 percent foreign-born rate.

Meanwhile, the two EU states with the most xenophobic and Islamophobic governments - Hungary and Poland - had among the lowest rates, with 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Many of their migrants came from fellow Christian country Ukraine.

EU money can be used to offshore migrants on boats

The European Commission says member states can use EU funds to pay for food, medical supplies, and personnel on vessels hosting migrants offshore - provided that all legal conditions are met.

EU waters down Covid-19 traffic-light travel zones concept

EU countries are set to adopt a 'traffic-light' colour-coding system for coronavirus-affected areas. But member states will have the possibility to set their own strategies, on negative Covid-19 tests or different quarantine periods, for orange and red zones.

Investigation

EU lawmakers under pressure to act on 90,000 asbestos deaths

The EU Commission has watered-down a broad political initiative —but now governments of member states hold the key to what the EU should do. Some member states and regions have adopted asbestos strategies of some kind, from Poland to Flanders.

Investigation

Asbestos — two to three times more deadly than known

Where once working men in heavy industry were diagnosed with cancers related to a more direct exposure to asbestos, now women in professions such as teaching, nursing and other occupations are being diagnosed, as well as young people.

Opinion

How EU banks underwrote the Qatar World Cup

European banks and investors have invested heavily in Qatari sovereign bonds, and construction and hospitality companies — with scant attention to well-documented human rights violations.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU ministers in fresh battle on joint debt, after Biden subsidies
  2. EU: 'We'll see' if Moscow actually stops selling oil over price-cap
  3. Bad Karma
  4. Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia
  5. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  6. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  7. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  8. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us