Friday, August 7, 2020

Migrants, Remittances, and Covid-19

The Dialogue: Leadership for the Americas:

NEW REPORT:  Migrants, Remittances, and Covid-19. Remittance Behavior and Economic and Health Vulnerabilities
This report from the Migration, Remittances and Development Program examines how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) with a focus on those residing in the United States, Spain, Italy and Canada. It considers how the pandemic has affected unemployment among immigrants as well as their unique risk of exposure to health vulnerabilities and financial shocks. It also estimates the expected decline in remittances from the United States to the LAC as a result of these and related factors. To conclude, the report outlines recommendations for host countries to better mitigate the pandemic's negative financial impacts on both immigrants and countries that are impacted by a decline in remittances.

Key Findings:

•  Latin American and Caribbean migrants are mostly concentrated in countries considered the "hot spots" of the Covid-19 pandemic. Migrant workers are uniquely vulnerable to economic and health impacts of the pandemic especially due to their limited access of the host countries' public assistance.

•  Over three million migrants in the United States will become unemployed due to the pandemic. Migrants have limited options to switch occupations due to retail and service industries being largely shutdown. The negative financial consequences of migrants' contracting Covid-19 are compounded by migrants' low access to health insurance or public assistance to buffer sudden loss of income or unexpected expenses.

•  Authors estimate a 16 percent decline in remittances from the United States to Latin American and Caribbean remittance receiving countries from 2019. Estimates suggest that due to unemployment alone, remittances in 2020 will decline by over 10 billion dollars compared to 2019.

•  Migrants in the United States are at higher risk of being impacted by the pandemic's consequences. Unemployment data indicates that, compared to their counterparts born in the United States, immigrants have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic's impact on unemployment, especially those working in transportation, utilities, leisure and hospitality.


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