Migration has plummeted during the pandemic

Migration has plummeted during the pandemic

Some countries, such as Japan, have stopped welcoming immigrants entirely

IF THERE IS one thing that people remember about the covid-19 pandemic, it is the experience of sheltering in place. Those looking to move abroad have had little choice but to stay put, too. A new report from the OECD, a think-tank, shows that travel restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic caused migration to rich countries to fall by half in the first half of the year, compared with 2019.

The sharpest declines occurred in East Asia and Oceania. Rich countries there have succeeded better than most at stopping the spread of covid-19. This is in part because they were quick to recognise the threat and institute strict travel restrictions. Some countries in the region, including Japan, South Korea and New Zealand have just about stopped accepting new immigrants entirely.

In America, severe restrictions were not introduced until March. It has since largely stopped issuing visas for permanent residents, but is still accepting temporary migrants. Most European countries halted migrant flows around the same time as the United States. Many have carved out exceptions to let in health-care workers and seasonal agricultural labourers.