Resilience strategies of Filipino irregular migrant domestic workers in the Netherlands during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 2023•06•01


    Lalaine SirunoMelissa Siegel

    Published in Population, Space and Place.

    COVID-19 has brought a combination of health, socioeconomic and protection challenges to migrants everywhere, and a common view is that these effects have been harshest for those already in vulnerable situations before the pandemic. However, the lived experiences of Filipino irregular migrant domestic workers (IMDWs) in the Netherlands point to a range of impacts instead of a homogenous one. Drawing on interviews and participant observations, we analyse three specific pandemic consequences: income and financial remittance volatility, dual country or transnational precarity and physical and migration status immobility. We then analyse the resilience strategies deployed by IMDWs to navigate through such impacts. While our focus is on the microlevel, we also highlight the vital importance of the responses by the community on the mesolevel, and the government on the macrolevel. Following this relational approach, we put forward a conceptualisation of individual resilience as the capacity to navigate the negative impacts of a shock or crisis to maintain, adapt, or transform valued functionings. We argue that IMDWs cultivate resilience despite their precarious legal status; however, the effectiveness of strategies is contingent on personal circumstances as well as the sociopolitical context wherein they are deployed. The paper contributes to the literature by providing a more nuanced picture of the impacts of and responses to COVID-19 in relation to migrants with irregular status. The articulation of resilience in terms of valued functionings also paves the way for the advancement of the still nascent research agenda on migration and human development.

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