Managing the Pandemic and Its Aftermath: Economies, Jobs, and International Migration in the Age of COVID-19

Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Date of Publication: 
November, 2020
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

This essay provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the economy and international migration. Suggesting crises can leave “opportunities” in their wake, author Demetrios G. Papademetriou, emeritus director of the Migration Policy Institute and internationally recognized expert on immigration policy, presents steps governments can take to improve international migration systems and ensure pandemic recovery, including by: 1) rethinking migration systems, including steps to reduce backlogs in asylum cases and temporary visa applications; 2) reimagining border management to account for security and a more intense focus on public health; 3) reexamining the assumption that advanced economies have an “insatiable” need for foreign workers; 4) reforming immigrant-dense, low-wage labor markets; 5) improving immigrant integration; 6) ensuring everyone, regardless of immigration status, is involved in economic recovery; and 7) increasing aid to vulnerable populations like internally displaced persons and refugees while also increasing foreign aid to both prevent conflict and provide economic opportunity, thereby stemming flows of immigrants and refugees. The author then presents lessons learned from the pandemic, such as: reopening the economy safely will require cooperation between governments, businesses and the public; early successes in containing the spread of the virus were no protection against economic recession (Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea being key examples); and while viruses do not respect borders, they do impact different segments of the population and the economy differently. Papademetriou concludes that, for governments to implement effective immigration and economic policy and properly balance public health and economic recovery, there must be high degrees of both political trust (trust in political leaders) and social trust (trust in one another). (Jillian DiPersio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Papademetriou, D. (2020, November). Managing the Pandemic and Its Aftermath: Economies, Jobs, and International Migration in the Age of COVID-19. Migration Policy Institute.