Migration and the labour market impacts of COVID-19

Professor Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak joins the WIDER Webinar Series to discuss new research on migration and labour market impacts of COVID-19 in developing countries. 

Social distancing policies to contain the global pandemic include restrictions that limit people’s geographic mobility and hence prevent migration as a source of income. In addition, many nations have responded to the public health crisis by revoking work visas for existing labor migrants and sending foreign workers home. 

In this webinar Professor Mobarak will present evidence that both the public health risks of COVID-19 and the economic fallout from mitigation policies have been particularly damaging to households that engage in labor migration.

Further he will discuss findings from a study done by a joint research team of the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE) and the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility in Kathmandu which tracked 2,600 households in rural Nepal over five rounds of surveys during both lean and harvest seasons, before and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Their results suggest continued lockdowns may lead to even greater hunger, malnutrition, and desperation than what has already been observed (read more in the Foreign Policy article).

Barbara Barungi joins as discussant to provide an outline of the COVID-19 impacts in Nigeria, particularly the economic stimulus packages, health interventions, and implications of the closure of borders/lockdown. She will address the policy challenges faced in assisting the most vulnerable groups, and provide insight for more sustainable policies for the future.


Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale University

Barbara Barungi, Founder and Managing Partner of Imara Africa Consulting firm.