The Impact of Covid-19 on Migrants and Migration in the Gulf States

By: Dr Georgia Cole
It is fitting that the Centre for Global Human Movement’s first Global Conversation on Covid-19 began with a discussion on the virus’ impact on migrants in the Gulf States. As Froilan Malit, Jr. outlined at the start of his talk, all but two states within the Gulf Cooperation Council, namely Oman and Saudi Arabia, have a larger number of migrants within their borders than nationals. Any effective and sustainable regional response to the virus must thus necessarily put migrants and migration at its centre. While political leverage is far from evenly distributed between governments in the Gulf and those in migrants’ home countries, a degree of interdependence means that governments in migrants’ countries of origin have also been enrolled in conversations about how to manage the virus’s impacts on public health, social protection, transnational remittances and international diplomacy.