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Immigration & emigration statistics: Migration data relevant for the COVID-19 pandemic

Migrants – particularly in lower paid jobs – may be both more affected by and vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 in countries already impacted and those countries where the pandemic is spreading, but migrants also play an important role in the response to COVID-19 by working in critical sectors. As of 1 March 2021, emigrants from the 20 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases accounted for 31 per cent of the total international migrant stock and they had sent an estimated 37 per cent of all remittances globally to their countries of origin in 2019 (GMDAC analysis based on UN DESA, 2020World Bank 2020aWHO, 2021)1. Immigrants accounted for at least 3.7 per cent of the population in 14 of the 20 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, and this share is more than 7 per cent in 9 of these countries (GMDAC analysis based on UN DESA, 2020WHO, 2021). Compared to the global share of international migrants making up 3.6 per cent of the total population, international migrants are overrepresented in these countries. 

Increasing border restrictions also have an impact on the mobility of migrants and the role of humanitarian organizations. Between 11 March 2020, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and 22 February 2021, nearly 105,000 movement restrictions were implemented around the world (IOM, 2021a). At the same time, 189 countries, territories or areas have issued 795 exceptions to these restrictions, thus enabling mobility (ibid.). Estimates with an assumption of zero-growth in the number of migrants between 1 March and 1 July 2020 suggest a decrease of nearly 2 million international migrants globally compared to the initially expected estimate between mid-2019 and mid-2020 (UN DESA, 2020). Migration flows to OECD countries – measured by new permits issued – are estimated to have fallen by 46 per cent in the first half of 2020 and 2020 is expected to be a historical low for migration to OECD countries (OECD, 2020a). Such a drop in migration inflows can also have demographic effects on countries dependent on migration for population growth. For example, estimates for 2020 suggest that the population of Germany did not grow for the first time in the last decade due to a decline in immigration (German Federal Statistics Office, 2021). In Australia, net migration for 2020/2021 is expected to be negative for the first time since 1945 and this will lead to the lowest population growth in a century (Australian Centre for Population, 2020).

This page discusses data on migrants that can inform how they are potentially both affected by the impact of COVID-19 and are part of the response to the pandemic. As information related to the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly evolving, figures and other data will be updated on a regular basis. For information by country, please see here and below the map for key indicators on migration and demography. For key trends by region on the impact of COVID-19, please see our regional data overviews.

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

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Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

READ  IOM, African Union Commission, launch the first Africa Migration Report

“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  Dutch govt knew about Vietnamese children disappearing from asylum centers for years- Report

 

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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