Being on the Frontline? Immigrant Workers in Europe and the Covid-19 Pandemic

43 Pages Posted: 24 May 2021 Last revised: 27 May 2022

See all articles by Francesco Fasani

Francesco Fasani

Queen Mary University of London

Jacopo Mazza

European Union - European Commission Joint Research Centre-Ispra

Date Written: December 2020

Abstract

We provide a first systematic assessment of the labor market impact of COVID-19 on immigrant workers in Europe. In the first year of the pandemic, we estimate that Extra EU migrants were twice as likely to have their job terminated relative to comparable natives, while for EU migrants this probability was 1.6 times larger. To understand the determinants of these large gaps, we focus on three job characteristics: essentiality, temporariness and teleworkability. After documenting differential migrant-native distribution along these three dimensions, we estimate that this pre-pandemic occupational sorting accounts for around 50% of the explained native-migrants gaps in the risk of employment termination; sorting into industries accounts for the other half. Further, we estimate a larger penalty for migrants from being employed in low-teleworkable occupations. Even within narrow occupation/industry cells, however, more than half of the migrant-native gap in job separation probability remains unexplained.

Keywords: COVID-19, Employment risk, key occupations

JEL Classification: F22, J20, J61

Suggested Citation

Fasani, Francesco and Mazza, Jacopo, Being on the Frontline? Immigrant Workers in Europe and the Covid-19 Pandemic (December 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15590, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3846043

Francesco Fasani (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Jacopo Mazza

European Union - European Commission Joint Research Centre-Ispra ( email )

Via Fermi
Ispra, Varese 21027
Italy

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