Remina Aleksieva (Center for the Study of Democracy)
This policy brief aims to provide policymakers with an overview of some of the main challenges faced by migrants – all persons who change their country of usual residence – in the European Union (hereinafter EU) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides policy recommendations and outlines good practices by EU member states in order to better plan, test and implement migration policies at times of crisis. The immediate measures regarding COVID-19 had a direct negative impact on migrants, regardless of whether they were on the move or residing in an EU member state. Their right to freedom of movement, international protection, healthcare and employment were impeded. EU member states varied greatly in their responses – some, such as Germany, adapted their entry conditions, reception procedures and considered migrants access to healthcare, while others, such as Hungary disregarded migrants in their policy responses. This policy brief focuses on four areas concerning migrants – travel and entry conditions, access to administrative services, healthcare and employment. Its aim is to provide a brief overview of these aspects of migrants’ journeys and quality of life. The brief will point out the most common challenges and propose respective policy measures. Finally, some good practices are distinguished that potentially could become viable long-term solutions to comparable emergency situations.