Humanities & Social Sciences Communications (Oct 2021)

The plight of migrants during COVID-19 and the impact of circular migration in India: a systematic review

  • Joshy Jesline,
  • John Romate,
  • Eslavath Rajkumar,
  • Allen Joshua George

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 1
pp. 1 – 12


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Abstract As per the reports of WHO, the COVID-19, first reported in December 2019, put the whole world in an unprecedented crisis and lingering uncertainty with innumerable deaths, generalised economic depression, unemployment, quarantine, unavoidable lockdown, and travel-ban that was imposed globally as a necessity to tackle the pandemic. Among the populace, the migrants were found to be one of the most vulnerable groups in this lockdown, as their very livelihood came to a complete standstill. This review-paper aims to investigate in detail the multiple facets of adversities the migrants went through in India during the lockdown and the socio-psychological impact of circular migration. Following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, studies on migrant workers during COVID-19 and on circular migration were searched. Database searches on Scopus, PubMed, and PsychNet and manual searches on Google Scholar were carried out. From the initially identified 15,697 articles, 15 articles that met the inclusion criteria were chosen for review. The findings highlight the different plight of the migrants, who had the pressing need to head back home to safety despite the acute financial crisis and the travel problems. The poor quality of the relief camps with meagre rations and lack of facilities especially put the women and children in distress and generated a lot of psychosocial issues. The present study urges the mental health-care professionals to groom themselves for facing the challenges of a surge in mental illnesses by taking necessary measures. It also emphasises the need to establish a strong ethical alliance between the local population, health systems, local government mechanisms, and human rights associations in order to take a relook at the national migration policies.