15th June 2022

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted every part of our life, from health to education, the economy to social protection. Migrant workers' families might rely on foreign inward remittance to make ends meet. Human mobility and how digital technology is affecting the world of work are two worldwide phenomena that have undergone seismic upheavals.

Since early 2020, all types of human mobility, particularly international migration, had been severely disrupted. Some people had been stranded at borders, unable to leave their home countries, while others had been unable to return home after spending time abroad. In 2020, travel limitations alone decreased the growth of worldwide migrant populations by 27%, or two million migrants.

Even though many migrants lost their jobs, they kept sending money back to their families, frequently dipping into their savings in the process. Remittances did fall, causing tremendous grief, but not as much as had been predicted. Migrants used online banking services, demonstrating the value of digital technology in keeping the economy going. The pandemic's quick adoption of digital tools has been a defining feature. Work was already being transformed by artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and a slew of other new technologies. This digital transition accelerated due to the necessity for social separation and travel restrictions. Digital technology provides unique benefits and opportunities for migrants and displaced individuals

They can learn new skills, gain access to important information and services, and develop new networks by going online. They can look for better jobs, build businesses, or venture into new markets using the power of technology.

Why Digital Solutions Are Important For Migrants

In the future, given the power dynamics at play in the migration process, it is conceivable that migrants will be increasingly controlled and monitored through the use of digital technology. In some cases, it may be preferable for migrants to avoid using any digital technology at all. However, there are exciting possibilities for developing new ways for migrants to benefit from digital technology. One of the difficulties that many migrants endure is the melancholy that comes with being separated from family and friends, who rely heavily on foreign inward remittance to their country. While video chats can help with this, new haptics advances may eventually allow us to feel someone's touch or hug.

Similarly, implanting microchips into our bodies is becoming more common, and in the future, this practice could provide real benefits for migrants, such as storing their credentials and other documents in their bodies or allowing their families to track them on the often-dangerous journey to their destination. Of course, the likelihood that most authorities would utilise such technologies for monitoring reasons, endangering migrants' privacy, counters this.

It's crucial to realise that digital technology can be utilised for good or for bad. Many migrants are particularly vulnerable, and those wanting to assist them must ensure that migrants can make their own educated decisions about how they use digital technology. Rather than building totally new solutions that may never be broadly adopted, the best interventions are often focused on strengthening existing ways in which migrants use apps and other digital tools.

Basic Necessity Solutions

1. Independence

For new migrants and refugees, digital inclusion promotes independence, as well as a better sense of autonomy and confidence.

The independence that comes with being able to use technology to discover information about transportation or healthcare services, apply for jobs, and access local news and information can really help them settle in.

2. Improved access to trusted information

Along with the benefits of being able to access internet content to aid in effective settling, digital inclusion can help newly arrived refugees and migrants to gain access to reliable information. Content is made available online by several reputable individuals and organisations. If a person can access and navigate internet information, they can get accurate information from a reliable source. This has been emphasised during the COVID-19 pandemic as being crucial in preventing the spread of damaging misinformation. Some clients, for example, had chosen to get information from established settlement programs and community leaders. Whether through online video lectures, meetings, catch-ups, social media, or other formats, technology can help make this happen.

Similarly, for national and state emergency information, such as wildfire information apps, the AirRater app, live traffic incident reports, the COVID-Safe app, and many others, internet access and the capacity to use app technology are becoming increasingly necessary. Governments are increasingly relying on digital tools to quickly convey accurate emergency information to the general public. Having quick access to reliable information can make the difference between someone living or dying in an emergency.

Financial Solutions

Digital financial services can help strengthen the financial sector's resilience, especially during times of crisis, by facilitating low-cost, convenient, and timely money transfers. It is no longer necessary for people to leave their homes to transfer or receive money. Because of its scope and expanding use among underserved people, mobile money is particularly positioned to change formal remittance systems and enhance financial inclusion. Its providers are at the vanguard of domestic payment services in many emerging nations, allowing recipients of foreign remittances to pay for products and services digitally. This can help them build a payment history that might one day allow them to obtain credit or insurance. As a result, mobile money has established itself as a crucial tool for enabling international remittances while also lowering remittance prices and increasing the development impact of remittances.

Many of the remittances industry's pain points can be alleviated using digital data technologies. To protect digital remittances and encourage competition and innovation, regulators, financial institutions, and money transfer operators should work together. Educating individuals about the advantages of digital transactions can be a key step toward increasing the number of transactions.

Regulators can ensure that migrants receive pre-departure training or that such training is made mandatory before they leave. Digital remittances can be included in national financial education efforts. Ensure that they know the best app to send money and payment solution for mobile reload and bills in order to make their lives easier and help their individual country.

Communication And Network Solutions

Formal recruitment methods typically force many women and men to migrate through informal, undocumented, and dangerous pathways. These methods can be improved upon by using digital migration management platforms.

When digital management platforms save critical papers like labour contracts, payment slips, and medical certificates, they establish a record of agreements known as a "digital trail." This might be useful if a foreign worker and an employer or recruitment agency disagree on contract terms, repayments, or other concerns.

Other growing best practices include the use of digital solutions to manage migrant worker support services throughout the migration cycle, such as legal aid, welfare assistance, and online training opportunities.

Migrant workers can use digital technology to share knowledge and information, as well as make bureaucratic procedures simpler and more transparent. Migrant workers can benefit from peer-to-peer support and organisation through online networks.

Migrant workers can compare recruiting agencies, money transfer operators, and other service providers by using online ratings, which can help them make informed decisions.

Migrant workers can also use digital financial services to manage their income and savings, as well as send money back home without incurring the fees associated with traditional banking services.

Even while working in remote and secluded locations, migrant workers can use online complaint systems to seek help.

For recently arriving migrants and refugees, language challenges or a lack of English competence might be a barrier to digital participation. When the material on websites and online portals is mostly in English, it can be difficult to find. Though in-language and translated information that is frequently made available, such as on government websites, it can be difficult to find due to what settlement agencies have referred to as an "English language firewall," in which several clicks into the website are required to find the translated information.

EVOLET is a digital wallet app for migrant workers.

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