Building Resilience Across Borders

Migrant health workers are equally on the frontlines saving lives. They deserve recognition, equal respect and protection of their human and labour rights

On International Migrants Day, we honour all the migrant health workers who are helping us fight this pandemic.

The pandemic shows how our societies rely on migrant workers. They are among the workers on the frontlines providing essential services, such as health care.

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Migrant health workers are equally on the frontlines saving lives. They deserve recognition, equal respect and protection of their human and labour rights

Migrant Health Workers on the Frontline - IMD 2020

Migrant health workers make up a significant proportion of our health workers on the frontlines. Many of them come from developing countries that equally need them. But because of the difficult situation these workers are living in, the low pay, the lack of facilities and lack of social protections, these workers are forced to leave their homelands to find work elsewhere. Sadly however, for many of our migrant health workers, they face similar difficult conditions in the countries they find themselves in.

Migrant health workers make up a significant proportion of our health workers on the frontlines

Due to their migration status, particularly those on temporary permits, and the need to send remittances back home to support their families, migrant health and care workers endure long working hours, poor wages, few benefits, and are reluctant to raise their concerns for fear of being fired or deported.

Many have become sick or have died from the infection. Women, who make up the majority of these workers, are doubly vulnerable as they endure precarious working conditions while carrying out care responsibilities within family and society.

Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, says “the pandemic has put on spotlight the valuable contribution of our migrant health workers and the challenges they face. Migrant health workers are equally on the frontlines saving lives, yet their contributions are undervalued and undermined. They deserve genuine recognition and equal respect and protection of their human and labour rights.”

Moreover, with countries racing to recruit migrant health workers to fill their staffing needs, there is the urgent need for international cooperation in order to address the global health workforce shortage made more acute by the pandemic. Developing countries with fragile health systems should not be stripped of their health workforce that is crucial in fighting the outbreak.

We call for a rights-based approach in the governance of health labour migration, rooted on human rights, gender equality, fair economic policies and shared governance responsibilities, thereby balancing the rights of workers, the right to universal health care and fair outcomes for both origin and destination countries.

PSI, together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), is launching a new publication, “Building Resilience Across Borders: A Policy Brief on Health Worker Migration.” The brief aims to raise awareness and stimulate discussion about migration in the light of recent global policy developments on health worker migration, setting this in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Building Resilience Across Borders

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PSI, together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), is launching a new publication, “Building Resilience Across Borders: A Policy Brief on Health Worker Migration.” The brief aims to raise awareness and stimulate discussion about migration in the light of recent global policy developments on health worker migration, setting this in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Global Pact of Solidarity

Also, today PSI joins the human rights movement of affected migrant and refugee communities, their networks and organizations, in calling for a Global Pact of Solidarity for the Rights of Migrants and Refugee Peoples.

The Pact rejects the dominant policies of migration security and control that lead to multiple violations of human rights. It critiques the various root causes of forced displacement, including the devastating extractivism of transnational corporations.

The Pact offers an alternative of cooperation and solidarity among States in supporting social and economic policies that guarantee the coverage of basic needs of the entire population, and the fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination. The Pact is rooted on the central axis of the defense of the full rights of migrants and refugees around the world.

Sign-on to the Global Pact here