International Conference ‘The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Migration Mobility’

Presentations shown at the conference are pinned at the bottom of this article.

On April 27, 2020, the Institute of Socio-Political Research FCTAS RAS and the Department for Demographic and Migration Policy of MGIMO University held an international online-conference “Impact the COVID-19 pandemic on migration mobility” within the framework of the project “Migration Bridges in Eurasia – 2020”.

Researchers from 27 countries including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Hungary, Iran, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Portugal, the USA, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, have participated in the Conference. Despite its focus on migration, the Conference was interdisciplinary and attracted not only demographers but also sociologists, economists, political and cultural scientists. Representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IMO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNDP), and non-profit human rights organizations took an active part in the Conference. 

The conference aimed to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migration mobility of the population. The following issues were discussed during the Conference:   

  1. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on labor migration and the situation of labor migrants in countries of origin and destination;
  2. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic mobility and the situation of foreign students in host countries;
  3. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the internal mobility of a population in a pandemic in countries around the world.
  4. Socio-economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and possible solutions.  

Still, the Conference included four sessions. 

The first session “Migration mobility and migrant rights during the COVID-19 pandemic: Asia-Pacific Region” raised issues regarding respect for the rights of migrants in conditions of isolation in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. In the beginning, S.V. Ryazantsev drew attention to the fact that in conditions of the closure of state borders and concern for the local population, the thousands of migrants who, by the will of fate, remained far from their countries without proper protection and often without a livelihood should not be forgotten. The first presenter, Christine Inglis from the University of Sydney, raised issues regarding the impact of COVID-19 on academic mobility, tourism, and global supply chains in Australia. In his presentation, the corresponding member of RAS Sergey V. Ryazantsev introduced the results of a sociological survey on the situation of labor migrants in Russia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Svetlana N. Mishchuk characterized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. The migratory behavior of migrants from Cambodia in Thailand was the topic of the presentation of prof. Sam Seun from the Royal Academy of Cambodia. Professor Howard Duncan reported the response of Canada’s migration policy to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second session was dedicated to migration mobility and migrant rights during the COVID-19 pandemic in countries of Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Irina Molodikova brought up issues of solidarity and regionalization of the migration policy of the EU countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Prof. António Mendonca from the University of Lisbon examined the problems of Portugal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of protecting the migrants’ rights on the one hand and protecting own population on the other. Prof. Roberto Luiz do Carmo from the University of Campinas raised issues regarding a number of COVID-19 deaths in Brazil. Maria Teresa Lemos and Alexis Dantas from the University of Rio de Janeiro introduced the important topic – preconception and xenophobia due to COVID-19 and protests against immigration in Brazil and exposed issues of migrants’ rights in Brazil. Prof. Cynthia Pizarro from the University of Buenos Aires presented a report on “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on labor migration and the situation of labor migrants in Argentina” and expressed particular concern about the respect of the migrants’ rights in Argentina during the pandemic. Prospects of Afghan migrants and refugees in Iran during and post the COVID-19 pandemic were examined by Prof. Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi from the University of Tehran. In her presentation, Lujain Rabat highlighted the problems of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons in Lebanon. Patricia Villen and Bruno de Conti from the University of Campinas presented a report on the problems of migrants and refugees in Latin America and Brazil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The third section focused on the main trends in migratory mobility in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Valentina V. Chupik described the problems of labour migrants in Russia in the context of COVID-19. Andrey Korobkov considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the migratory mobility of the population in a comparative perspective. Caress Schenk’s report addressed immigration issues and the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia. Vera A. Gnevasheva brought up issues of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world labor market. Sanjarbek Toshbaev from the International Organization for Migration raised issues of protection and assistance to migrants affected by the COVID-19 crisis at the present stage. Gul’naz Alaeva from the University of Turan highlighted the problems of protecting the rights of migrants in a state of emergency. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on labor migration and the socio-economic situation in Kyrgyzstan was addressed by a report by Uran Ergeshbaev from the Osh State University. Duman and Dauren Zhampeyisov’s report raised issues of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the internal mobility of the population of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Environmental migration issues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic were reflected in the report of Evgeniya M. Moiseeva. The presentation of Yulia E. Pletneva and Galina N. Ochirova was dedicated to the problems of academic mobility and the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as the search for possible solutions.

The fourth session of the Conference was devoted to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on population mobility in Russia. Victor K. Levashov presented a report on the topic “Dialectics of the interaction of COVID-19 and migratory population mobility”. In her report, Victoria Yu. Ledeneva analyzed the publications on the Internet about the situation of migrants in Russia during the quarantine period. Saodat Olimova addressed the issues of environmental migration in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Tajikistan. Vladimir A. Iontsev described the main features of international labor migration in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. In their joint report, Tamara K. Rostovskaya and Daniel Tolmachev raised issues of social communications of the older population in conditions of self-isolation. Elena E. Pismennaya pointed out the main problems of educational migration caused by the pandemic. Igor N. Molchanov described migration flows to small cities of Russia under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marina N. Khramova introduced the topic of modeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international labor migration in Russia. Natal’ya. Bezverbnaya examined the problems of fake news in the media and social networks about COVID-19 and its impact on labor migrants in Russia. Artem S. Lukyanets characterized the main spectrum of problems of climate and environmental migrants in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nikita S. Ryazantsev analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on foreign labor in Japan.

The conference ended with a discussion and a summarizing the main points. Closing remarks were made by the Director of ISPR FCTAS RAS Sergey V. Ryazantsev and Acting Head of the Laboratory of International Demographic Research Artem S. Lukyanets

Presentations

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