The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted a global exchange of migrant labor, as efforts to control the virus closed national borders and brought international travel to a halt. While media reports highlight how such disruptions affect wealthy nations that depend on migrant workers, this project asks: How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted places that export migrant labor? What are the experiences of the people caught in these disruptions? Focusing on the Philippines, our project examines how the pandemic upsets two extreme ends of the labor-export system: the deployment of migrant workers to foreign employers and the reintegration of those who had been forced to return home. We investigate how, in addressing these issues, the Philippine state has mainly treated its citizens as commodities to either be reallocated or reserved. This project aims to reveal how this worsens workers’ problems, undermining individuals’ capacity to cope with and recover from the pandemic’s impact on their lives.
Assistant Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University
PhD Candidate, National University of Singapore
Director, Research Development and Innovation Center, Our Lady of Fatima University