COVID-19 pandemic has not just changed our lives in many ways but it is also expected to impact and change patterns of global migration. After the pandemic is over, will there be a new wave of migration, different from the earlier ones, where people move internationally in search of better healthcare and better economic opportunities because the global economy has taken a hit? A report by the UN before the pandemic showed there is an estimated number of 272 million migrants internationally as per the beginning of 2020.
Parag Khanna, founder, and managing partner pf FutureMap, a company that provides data-driven scenario planning and strategic advisory for clients navigating the dynamics of globalisation put things in perspective in a conversation with BOOM's Govindraj Ethiraj. He says, "We have literally put the international migrant to a standstill. Other than repatriation, which is negative migration. For example there's a repatriation of construction workers to India in the Gulf countries. But six months down the line, when we have a vaccine, people will have just spent a year without earning money, all of the pent up desire to leave, to move, will be exercised. We will see a wave of migration."
Parag Khanna adds, "We have seen that Europe is open to allocating 'Blue Cards' to Indians who are trained in relevant fields like computer science or mathematics." Europe gives its longterm workers Blue Cards (EU Residence Permit) which also enables the holder access to Europe's governmental facilitated healthcare. Europe has been more welcoming to Indian workers in the last year as compared to USA, which doesn't have a health cover. Europe is now more open to immigrants because of its labour shortage.
Since there's large scale repatriation, what does it mean for a country like India where immigrants are coming back home. Parag Khanna says, "If you take the example of Indians in the Gulf who are coming back home to India because they've lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they're adding to the labour force in India, which will put a strain on the resources there. This will put a big strain on India's resources as unemployment will grow. That's where internal migration becomes important."
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