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Temporary Migrant Workers from the Global South in Turkey: Precarity during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Project Overview

This study examines the socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic on the experiences of temporary migrant workers from the global south working in low-skilled sectors in Turkey. The pandemic had a negative impact on the Turkish economy leading to high rates of unemployment. For migrant workers on temporary and employer-sponsored work permits, job loss is not just loss of income as they could face undocumented status with the impossibility of being able to go back to the home country or migrate elsewhere to pursue other job opportunities due to restrictions in international travel. While the Turkish government is host to many different temporary residents, migrant workers from less developed countries are hit especially hard as they face unemployment, undocumented status, and immobility during the pandemic. Through in-depth guided interviews with subjects recruited through a snowball sampling strategy and invitations to participate through Facebook and WhatsApp groups for foreigners living in Turkey, this study examines the various ways that the pandemic compounds the precarity of migrant workers in Turkey. This study will also examine the Covid-19-specific health and healthcare challenges migrant workers encounter.

Study Design


Project Keywords

Migrant workers, precarious work, emerging migrant destination, pandemic

Principal Investigator

Name: Sheilamae

Title: Dr.

Department or Unit: NA

Organization: Ethnicity & Covid-19 Research Consortium (ECRC)/ Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE)

Co-Project Investigators

  • Name: Michele
    Organization: ECRC/IGDORE
  • Name: Sakina
    Organization: ECRC
  • Name: Melike Sema
    Organization: ECRC
  • Name: Deidre
    Organization: ECRC

Funding Source


Expected Study Timeline

December 1, 2020 to March 30, 2021

Study Design


Primary Methods of Data Collection

Virtual interviews using Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype

Unit of Analysis


Study Population(s)

migrant workers from the global south

Sample Size


Geographic Focus Area(s)


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