April 15, 2020
Emergencies are always stressful to all, but specific stressors particular to COVID-19 outbreak affect the immigrant and refugee population. African Coalition believes that steps must be taken to address stigma and discrimination at all phases of the COVID-19 emergency response. The first step is that we all must speak up and advocate on behalf to end the hostile environment towards immigrants and refugees in any sector.
Refugees and other immigrants are exposed to great risks as a result of the pandemic. However many of them play a major role as doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, and shelf stackers, all key to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are the vital, essential, fundamental key workers who will save our lives, often risking theirs.
This month New Jersey became the second US state, after New York, to invoke emergency powers to temporarily relax restrictions on foreign-born medical professionals, helping health systems struggling to care for rising numbers of Covid-19 patients.
In Spain, the government has announced plans to fast-track the status of 200 foreign-born doctors and nurses in the country, part of a series of measures put in place since a state of emergency was declared on 14 March.
In France, health services can now recruit unverified refugee graduates who are qualified as doctors, dentists or pharmacists in their home countries. Groups of doctors from China, Albania, Cuba, and Russia have traveled to Italy to help.
In Germany, hundreds of foreign doctors and nurses who don’t yet have licenses to practice signed up to work, following callouts from local authorities who promised training.
In Britain, visas have been extended for nearly 3,000 NHS workers from overseas, but hundreds of more people are qualified but unable to practice, despite calls for the government and the General Medical Council (GMC) to fast-track their accreditation
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