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Half of migrants in Tunisia lose jobs as a result of coronavirus pandemic

Tunisia has implemented stringent lockdown measures [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 May, 2020

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Migrants in Tunisia are losing their jobs as a result of lockdown measures imposed due to coronavirus, and although the measures are being eased, job security is far away.


Over half of migrant workers in Tunisia have lost their jobs as a result of stringent lockdown measures imposed by authorities in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that 53 per cent of migrants in the North African country have had their main sources of income cut, as Covid-19 continues its spread across the Middle East.

The IOM noted that the employment rate of migrants in the country had dropped from 64 per cent to 11 per cent in the period from 22 March, when Tunisia's general quarantine was imposed, to 3 May.

Tunisian state and municipal authorities are working with the IOM to provide social and economic assistance to migrants living in Tunisia, and 39 per cent of migrant workers with children have received aid.

The IOM said that, since the beginning of the health crisis, 7,002 migrants from across the entire country had received aid of some sort including food, vouchers, and cleaning products.

This comes as migrants attempt to leave the North African country’s coast on boats towards Europe despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

This week, the Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted a fishing boat on the Kerkennah islands in the Sfax governorate that was carrying 50 migrants from Asian and African countries.

The Tunisian interior ministry on Wednesday said all, including two women and two children, would face criminal charges, adding that an additional anti-migration operation, codenamed Al-Dayer, led to the arrest of 12 nationals of African countries who had been preparing to leave the country on boats.

Earlier this week Tunisian authorities partially lifted confinement measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The easing of restrictions will allow Tunisians employed in some sectors of the economy to return to work.

"Today, we are starting the first phase of the national strategy for partial lifting of lockdown, a step which was based on what had previously been achieved in relation to the decline in the speed of contamination," said Tunisian Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki in a post on his official Facebook page.

Tunisia’s easing of lockdown measures will include three stages. The first will be from 4 May to 24 May, the second from 24 May to 4 June, and the third from 4 June to 14 June.


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