17 December, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 has brought with it an unprecedented array of challenges and disproportionately affected people in vulnerable situations. Migrants are being most affected, as the pandemic and subsequent movement restrictions created new forms of vulnerabilities for them and exacerbated the existing ones. Addressing the vulnerabilities of migrants is not only a question of protection but also it is a matter of policy coherence and good governance. After March 11, when the WHO declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic, many countries introduced various restrictions and special measures to stem the spread of the virus and also programs to support individuals and businesses. However, migrants are often beyond national programs for health care, financial protection and social services. While the long-term consequences are difficult to identify, the immediate impacts are already visible. 

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In order to mitigate the negative impact of the virus, the Government of Georgia developed the anti-crisis package with special measures implemented in 3 stages. The 1st stage involves emergency assistance for individuals and businesses. The next two stages involve broader activities, so-called horizontal measures, plans for the recovery of the business, agriculture, tourism, and construction sector. Certain measures to support the area of education were also presented. Also, it should be noted that the Georgian Government took large-scale non-standard measures in an emergency, which naturally increased the risks of human rights violations of vulnerable groups.  

The presented research aims to assess the Georgian Government’s response to COVID-19 and to analyse to what extent have state programs included migrants and responded to their needs. Moreover, on the one hand, by identifying challenges foreign migrants have encountered and, on the other hand, analysing the national and international normative context, this research aims to explore the gaps and develop relevant recommendations, implementation of which is of utmost importance in order to protect migrants’ rights during the pandemic.  


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