The experts highlighted the immediate need for a gender-responsive assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on migrant workers
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of women migrant workers like their men counterparts.
However, the pandemic has exposed the migrant domestic workers – most of whom are women – to more abuse as many of them work in isolation and live in the homes of their employers.
This has forced these workers to have more work pressure and to be deprived of rest.
Constant surveillance of the employers and restrictions on the workers' movement have negatively affected the women domestic workers.
Also, the restrictive measures imposed by governments to fight the pandemic have intensified women migrants' vulnerability to abuse in the workplaces.
However, sufficient information is not yet available on the impact of Covid-19 on women migrant workers.
The migration experts said this at the e-symposium "Drawing the Curtain: Experience of Women Migrant Workers" organised by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) yesterday.
So, they highlighted the immediate need for a gender-responsive assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on migrant workers.
Transient Workers Count Too Vice-President Alex Au informed that more than 90 percent of Covid-19 positive people in Singapore are migrant workers. "However, there has not been a single case of a woman being affected by Covid-19."
Center for Migrant Advocacy Executive Director Ellene Sana said, "A lot of migrant workers of the Philippines are women. And 8,000 migrant workers have returned with Covid-19."
"Many workers have lost their wages and employers in the countries of destination have terminated the ones who used to stay on their own."
UN Women's Senior Global Advisor, based in Cairo, Dr Jean D'Cunha said, "The workload has increased for domestic migrant workers amid the pandemic. We have to ensure the right of women migrants to mobilise them in the labour market."
Dr Jean D'Cunha also urged to ensure labour law coverage in both countries of origin and destination, including for domestic workers and their effective enforcement in line with the International Labour Organization and the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) standards.
Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants Coordinator Roula Hamati said, "Women migrants work based on temporary contracts, in most cases."
Also, the migration experts urged to provide income support to migrants, especially women, and ensure free testing and treatment of Covid-19 for them in better-equipped and infection-controlled environments in both countries of origin and countries of destination.
They also emphasised ensuring non-discriminatory policies against women in both countries of origin and destination and guaranteeing that migrant woman can enjoy their family rights without discrimination.
Most women migrant workers dominate occupations like domestic work, particularly in the care sector. This made them one of the most vulnerable ones even before the pandemic.
However, around 921,294 Bangladeshi female workers went to different countries including to the ones of the Middle East starting from 1991.
And 23 million women of different countries work in the Gulf countries who constitute 39 percent of the total migrant workforce of the region.
A vast majority of them work in the domestic sector. Only a few of them work in the professional and highly-skilled categories.
However, those who work in the domestic sector are the most vulnerable ones.