Covid-19 Worsening Plight of UK Migrants

The coronavirus pandemic has intensified the effects of the hostile environment on undocumented migrants in the UK, with many experiencing loss of income, unsafe working conditions and scared to seek help if they have the virus, a report has found. The Kanlungan Filipino Consortium and human rights charity RAPAR uncovered evidence of exploitative employment and overcrowded living conditions, making physical distancing impossible. More than half of Filipino migrants surveyed had lost all of their work and income and others were paid as little as £2 an hour. One was living in a five-bedroom flat with 13 other people, all of whom had Covid-19 symptoms. Out of the 78 respondents, 59 of whom were undocumented, 13 had experienced coronavirus symptoms but only one had sought medical care, highlighting fears about costs and being reported to the immigration authorities.
Maria Nola, a registered nurse in the Philippines, who is undocumented, said: “You are stressed with the financial things. You are stressed because [what] if you get it [Covid-19] and then you pass it on? It’s been three months now – no money. Your mood is very low. You don’t even want to move, you don’t even want to get up. It is depression.” Nine out of 10 survey respondents were care and domestic workers, and none did work that could be carried out from their own home. Many reported losing work because of the risk of transmitting coronavirus to employers, pushing them into more desperate circumstances. John, who has asthma and lives with his partner and their four-year-old autistic child, said: “Even if it’s dangerous, even if it’s risky for me, I have to go out and work to provide for my family.” Several studies have found people from ethnic minorities to be at greater risk of testing positive for and dying from coronavirus than the white British population. Filipino workers – of which there are 18,500 working in the NHS – have featured heavily among the healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19.
Read more: Haroon Siddique, Guardian,

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