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09 February 2022

Frontline workers 'owed debt of gratitude' by host states

Should migrants who risked their safety as key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic be offered citizenship?

Dr Mollie Gerver argues that those who risked their safety during the pandemic are owed a debt of gratitude by states. Picture: STOCK IMAGE

In a new article for the American Political Science Review, Dr Mollie Gerver argues that both authorised and unauthorised migrants who put their safety at risk, in a variety of frontline roles, are owed a debt of gratitude by their host states.

That debt, Dr Gerver argues, extends to offering migrants permanent residency and access to the privileges that citizenship entails.

Dr Gerver, a lecturer in international ethics in the Department of Political Economy, said: “Philosophers have traditionally focused on migrants integrating and contributing to society, rather than risks they assume. While risks are evoked for refugees—those experiencing risks at home need asylum abroad - risks are not only relevant for those fleeing wars, famine, and poverty.

“They are additionally relevant for those assuming risks while benefiting citizens. Accounting for such benefits expands the range of considerations for immigration policies, and it highlights the ways that migrants are not merely passive actors in need, but active agents providing for citizens’ needs.”

You can read the article in full here.

In this story

Mollie Gerver

Lecturer in International Ethics