Examining migration governance: evidence of rising insecurities due to COVID-19 in China, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal and Thailand

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the context of global migration. From a migration perspective, the pandemic is a source of insecurities that challenge migrants, their livelihoods and migration governance. Meanwhile, curtailment in movement has led to economic decline affecting labour markets. For migrant origin and hosting countries, this poses multidimensional development challenges. Analysis from March to August 2020 of China, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal and Thailand highlights the varying ways in which they are all severely affected by the disruptions in migration, suggesting a potentially emerging complex situation in migration patterns and pathways. The disruptions in migration and remittances have had a profound impact on migrants and migrant-sending households. The uncertainty of migration returning to pre-pandemic levels and the potential of lasting consequences on migrants and migration patterns and pathways, suggests a future of greater risk and exploitation, and a wider gap between formal and informal migration. This paper calls for greater mobility cooperation between countries and suggests strengthening mobility migration frameworks and policies for safer migration and for the rights of migrants.