The Impact of COVID-19 on Migrants in the North of England

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend


Ali Mahgoub

Director, Leeds Refugee Forum

Ali Mahgoub is Director of Leeds Refugee Forum, a community organisation which offers practical support for refugees and asylum seekers through education, advice, information dissemination and social activities, as well as creating a space where refugees and the communities they belong to, can meet and find mutual support.

Cheriesse Bema-Kwakye

Research Fellow and Project Co-ordinator, Dialogue Society

Cheriesse Bema-Kwakye is a Research Fellow and Project Co-ordinator at the Dialogue Society. Prior to joining the Dialogue Society, she held roles in fundraising, marketing and campaigning in charity organisations which operate both internationally and locally.

Dr Jessica Potter

NHS Consultant in Respiratory Medicine; #PatientsNotPassports Campaigner

Dr Jessica Potteris a consultant in respiratory medicine, public health researcher and activist. Her research focuses on access to health care and the structural conditions that shape these experiences

Hakk Ozal

Healthcare CIC; Political Refugee

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a fundamental shock all over the world with thousands having lost their lives to the virus, as well as many being affected by the economic and social impacts which the pandemic has produced. Arguably this crisis has hit migrants, such as refugees and asylum seekers the hardest. With strict immigration policies resulting in many migrants left without support and who then become vulnerable to the risk of poverty or destitution in this already difficult period. Such as the NRPF condition, highlighted by The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, which is subject to certain migrants in order to ensure they do not become a burden to public finances. However, those migrants who have managed to secure employment are also placed in precarious positions as these individuals, who tend to occupy lower-skilled jobs, are largely exposed to Covid-19 and it is known that those who have higher incomes are likely to have better health outcomes.

According to survey data in 2019 from The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, migrants in the UK were less likely to have health problems than those born in the UK. Yet the poor situation that they have been placed in, where government support is minimal as well as the persistent virus is likely to jeopardise their health and their ability to bounce back from this. The impact of Covid-19 on migrants has not only affected migrants themselves but also the current economic climate which the UK is facing. With minimal migration flows into and out of the UK, many businesses and sectors have been seriously affected as migrants constitute a substantial portion of the UK’s workforce. This share of migrant workers has dropped which is likely due to the pandemic. With levels of migration being concentrated in inner-cities such as areas within North of England, Covid-19 is likely to have a serious impact on these individuals and the communities they associate themselves with.

This insightful discussion panel will explore both the impacts Covid-19 has had on migrants and migration, as well as how communities within the North of England can come together to overcome the difficulties that this may produce.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Migrants in the North of England