This page offers a space for University of Bristol work, publications and events that specifically address migration and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have anything you would like to add here please get in touch.


Letter from Afar – special blog series

The MMB blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19:

  • Somatic shifts: the politics of movement in the time of COVID
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Victoria Hattam. Dispatch from Brooklyn, NY.September 2020 COVID-19 has returned questions of migration and mobility to the centre of politics by upending the distribution of mobility privileges. Who is allowed – or required – to move is changing; […]
  • Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Greece during COVID-19
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Theodoros Fouskas. Dear friends, I hope you are staying safe and keeping well. The first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in Greece on 26th February 2020 (National Public Health Organization, 2020a). As subsequent cases in late February and early […]
  • No longer welcome: migrants face growing racism in South Korea
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Minjae Shin. Dear friends I hope you all are staying safe and keeping well. It has been almost five months since I left Bristol. I am currently in South Korea, my country of origin. Many migrants, including international […]
  • From ‘social distancing’ to planetary solidarity
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Nandita Sharma. Greetings from Hawai’i! Reading Colin’s blog from the ‘afar’ of Bristol has made me think about distance, and the (dis)connections between physical and social distancing. We are physically far apart, but, I like to think, socially […]
  • Unemployment and xenophobia persist for migrant workers as China’s lockdown is lifted
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Xinrong Ma. Dear friends, I hope this letter finds you all very well. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in China at the end of last year, then rapidly spread around the globe. While people in many […]
  • Sweden faces COVID-19 with a neoliberal elderly care system and a racialised labour market
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Anders Neergaard. Dear friends, Reading newspapers every day and strolling around the streets and parks of Malmö (Sweden) I watch people trying to live with the pandemic. It’s scary as a human being but interesting as a sociologist. […]
  • The dismal UK Home Office response to coronavirus: the wider picture
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Colin Yeo. Dear Bridget, We’ve learned that closeness does not mean contact, so I hope that this can count as a ‘Letter from Afar’ even if ‘afar’ seems a strangely 19th-century way of talking about the distance between […]
  • Migrants abandoned – lockdown at the Mexican-Guatemalan border
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Ailsa Winton. Dear Bridget I hope you are keeping well and sane. Although working at home is quite normal for me, the anxiety is not. So it was great to read your letter and to be able to […]
  • A violent disregard for life: COVID-19 in Brazil
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Angelo Martins Junior. Dear friends Two months ago the governor of São Paulo decreed a state of emergency and social isolation measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, I was in São Paulo, conducting fieldwork for […]
  • Research in extraordinary times
    Bridget Anderson introduces our new blog series, Letter from Afar, in which we invite colleagues from across the world to tell us about their life and work in times of COVID-19. Answers welcome! Dear Friends, I hope you are well – COVID-19 has turned that platitude into a genuine wish – I truly hope you […]


From the main MMB blog and the MMB Latin America blog

Maud Perrier, ‘Organising against fear: migrant nannies and domestic workers during COVID.’ 14/06/22.

Magda Mogilnicka, ‘Brexit, COVID and stay/return narratives amongst Polish migrants in the UK.’ 15/03/22.

Candice Morgan-Glendinning and Melanie Griffiths, ‘Parenting through “modern technology”: learning from the pandemic.’ 03/06/21.

Naomi Millner and Monica Amador, ‘Military mobilities in protected forests: intensifying state control during Colombia’s 2020 lockdown.’ 04/05/21.

Ivonne Garza, ‘Achieving COVID-19 vaccination for all migrants in Latin America.‘ 25/03/21.

Jenna Holliday, ‘COVID-19, gender and migration in Central Asia: reinforcing precarity.’ 23/12/20.

Soledad Álvarez Velasco, ‘(Im)Mobility in the Americas and COVID-19: a transnational collective project.‘ 15/12/20.

Lydia Medland, ‘Does it matter that the UK relies on migrant workers to harvest food?‘ 01/12/20.

Fernanda Mallak, Isabela Vianna Pinho and Thalles Vichiato Breda, ‘The dangers of staying home: lockdown deepens inequalities in Brazil‘. 17/11/20.

Ailsa Winton and Rosember López Samayoa, ‘The challenges of carrying on: pandemic experiences of an NGO on the Mexico-Guatemala border‘. 17/09/20.

Hugo Ramirez Arcos, ‘Desde las trochas colombo venezolanos‘. 20/08/20.

Adriana Montenegro, ‘Sin salida: los migrantes venezolanos en Ecuador durante el COVID-19‘. 13/08/20.

Manoj Dias-Abey, ‘Disposable workers, essential work: migrant farmworkers during the COVID pandemic‘. 11/08/20.

Rachel Randall, ‘Domestic workers and COVID-19: Brazil’s legacy of slavery lives on‘. 06/08/20.

Alexandra Castro, ‘The desperate journey back to Venezuela‘. 23/07/20.

Aline Pires, Felipe Rangel and Jacob Lima, ‘To stay home or go out to work? Brazil’s unequal modes of COVID-19 survival‘. 15/07/20.

Carolina Ramírez, ‘Migration, racism and the pandemic in Chile’s mass media‘. 07/07/20.

Ivonne Garza, ‘Achieving COVID-19 vaccination for all migrants in Latin America.’ 25/03/20.



Bridget Anderson, Friedrich Poeschel and Martin Ruhs (2020) ‘COVID-19 and systemic resilience: what role for migrant workers?‘ Geneva: IOM Publications. 08/20

Bridget Anderson (2020) ‘The nation and the state’, in M. Parker (ed.) Life After COVID-19: The Other Side of the Crisis. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 08/20

Jáfia Naftali Câmara, ‘While the world is busy with the virus, Israel is annexing the West Bank: an interview with Abdulhakim Sabbah.’ The Conversation, 11/06/20

Saffron Karlsen, ‘The ties that bind: what the killing of George Floyd can tell us about ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 (and why we should listen).’ PolicyBristol Hub, 05/06/20

Catherine Dodds and Saffron Karlsen, ‘Ethnicity and Covid-19: standing on the shoulders of eugenics?‘. SocArXiv, web, 30/05/20.

Catherine Dodds, ‘Covid-19: ensuring equality of access to testing for ethnic minorities.’ BMJ, 2020: 369: m2122

Denny Pencheva, ‘The worst of both worlds: EU workers between Coronavirus and Brexit.’ COMPAS blog, 19/05/20

Pankhuri Agarwal, ‘Stuck in the middle: perpetual denial of rights to Indian migrant informal workers.’ Futures of Work, Issue 13, 07/05/20

Manoj Dias-Abey, ‘International labor solidarity in a time of pandemic.Boston Review, 28/04/20

Juan Zhang, ‘“If I wear a face mask, everyone treats me like a disease”: the mask debate.’ COMPAS Coronavirus and Mobility Forum blog, 28/04/20

Angelo Martins Junior, ‘A violent disregard for life: Covid-19 in Brazil.Discover Society, 23/04/20

Mengia Tschalaer and Nina Held, ‘Coronavirus exacerbates LGBTQI refugees’ isolation and trauma.’ Al Jazeera, 22/04/20

Mengia Tschalaer, Nina Held and Danijel Cubelic, „Ich habe mich noch nie einsamer gefühlt.“ Der Tagesspiegel, 31/03/20

Denny Pencheva, ‘Coronavirus: flying in fruit pickers from countries in lockdown is dangerous for everyone.’ The Conversation, 21/04/20



Past events

COVID-19 and Systemic Resilience: What role for migrant workers?

9 November 2020

This online conference marks the launch of the “Migrants and Systemic Resilience Hub” (MigResHub), a joint initiative of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence and Migration Mobilities Bristol at the University of Bristol. The primary aim of MigResHub is to facilitate research and policy debates on how migrant labour shapes the resilience of essential goods and services to the current Covid-19 pandemic and to similar shocks in the future. Read more about the conference here.

Migrant Farmworkers and Resistance: Before, During and After COVID-19

3 July 2020

COVID-19 has laid bare many of the problems with the global food system. Even in ordinary times, migrant farmworkers live and work in overcrowded and dangerous conditions. COVID-19 has ravaged many farmworker communities. Even as states closed their borders to halt the spread of the virus, they found ways to allow farmworkers to migrate. In circumstances where undocumented workers were promised regularization, the measures introduced have been inadequate. See more information here. A recording of the webinar is available here and a podcast is available here.

Our Families and Other Migrants: Looking to the Future

29 June 2020

The fallout from COVID-19 has highlighted the worst of the UK immigration system, along with the country’s reliance on low-paid – some say unskilled – migrant workers. But the government is pressing ahead with its plan to introduce a points-based system in January 2021. But what about those chosen or loved ones that individual citizens want to bring in for their own emotional well-being? And what about those migrants who have already made the UK their home but are no longer deemed of benefit to the economy? MMB invited four experts to present their views of a better, fairer system for the future. View a video recording of the event here.

COVID-19 and Queer Asylum

29 April 2020

COVID-19 and Queer Asylum was a virtual symposium featuring NGO representatives and lawyers working on queer asylum, LGBTQI+ activists and LGBTQI+ persons seeking asylum/refugees from Germany. The Symposium consisted of three panels followed by a counseling forum lead by lawyers and LGBTQI+ asylum practitioners that allows for a Q&A around COVID-19 and LGBTQI+ asylum. A recording of the panels and forum can be seen on the symposium webpage.

Sociology On and Beyond the COVID-19 Crisis

24th April 2020

On 24 April 2020, the British Sociological Association ran an online symposium to open up sociological discussion on and beyond the COVID-19 crisis. A distinguished collection of panellists brought their expertise to bear on the COVID-19 crisis: • Bridget Anderson – Thinking outside the national box • Nik Brown – Breath, air and respiratory infections • Ipek Demir – Coronavirus, risk and Westerncentrism • Danny Dorling – Stepping Back to Focus on the Future • Susan Halford – Re-making Digital Futures post-COVID. A video of the symposium can be viewed here.

MPC Webinar: ‘Rethinking Migrants’ Skills and Labour Immigration Policies’

8 April 2020

A key question in labour immigration policy is how to select migrant workers for admission. Most high-income countries distinguish between low – and higher-skilled migrants: high-skilled migrants typically face fewer admission requirements and are given greater rights in the labour market and welfare state than low-skilled migrants. This and other questions were discussed in the Migration Policy Centre seminar – view a recording of the event here.


Research projects addressing COVID-19

A number of projects are being planned by Bristol staff and other projects are having to be rethought in light of the pandemic. We aim to post further details here as they become available.