Border closures associated with COVID-19 constitute a response to an exogenous shock unrelated to migration. In this IMR Dispatch, we argue that the impact of policies initially implemented to halt movement and curb the spread of the disease will nonetheless have medium- and longer term consequences for international migration. Specifically, we argue that these initial border restrictions have set in motion demographic and sociological processes that are likely to culminate in greater support for restricting future migration. Based on demographic evidence, we posit that after extended suppression of migration, OECD countries and Russia will see a migration spike, akin to a “baby boom” for fertility rebounds. Drawing on sociological theory and research, we hypothesize that these spikes in migration will increase anti-immigrant sentiment among native-born residents in destination countries and mobilize political support for reintroducing restrictive migration policies — triggering a feedback loop. In an effort to help facilitate future research and empirical tests of our model, we identify key concepts, processes, and data sources for the analysis of the pandemic’s impact on international migration over time.
Suppression, spikes, and stigma: How COVID-19 will shape international migration and hostilities toward it
O’Brien, Michelle L., and Maureen A. Eger. 2020. “Suppression, spikes, and stigma: How COVID-19 will shape international migration and hostilities toward it.” International Migration Review, https://doi.org/10.1177/0197918320968754