In light of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Thailand, migrants and non-Thai populations, irrespective of their legal status, face a new set of challenges and vulnerabilities. The stringent movement restrictions and temporary disruption of many income-generating activities pose a significant burden on migrants and non-Thai populations employed in both the formal and informal sectors. With limited or no access to technology, limited capacity to cope and adapt, little or no savings, inadequate access to social services, and uncertainty about their legal status and potential to access healthcare services, tens of thousands of migrants and non-nationals left Thailand in the first weeks of the pandemic. However, the extent to which these challenges and vulnerabilities were affecting migrant communities and non-Thai nationals who opted to remain in Thailand, or had no choice but to remain in Thailand, was unknown. It was also unclear whether migrant communities and non-nationals were receiving sufficient information about COVID-19 or had access to the resources which would allow them to maintain the hygiene and sanitation standards required for effective protection. To fill this data gap and inform possible responses, IOM initiated a data collection exercise to collect information on the COVID-19 knowledge and related vulnerabilities of non-Thai populations in Thailand.
The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a set of tools and methodologies which enable systematic and regular primary data collection, analysis and dissemination of population movements, human mobility and forced migration (both internal and cross-border). Originally designed to serve the humanitarian community during crises, DTM has been implemented to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
By using a snowball sampling method, IOM used its extensive network to identify 75 key informants who were able to provide informed answers on the situation and vulnerabilities of different migrant communities and non-Thai populations across Thailand. These key informants were representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), communitybased organizations (CBOs), migrant communities, government or local administrations, educational institutes, health institutes or religious entities. Key informants provided information about the non-Thai populations in their communities and/or about nonThai populations who are their direct beneficiaries.
The information presented in this report represents estimates and perceptions provided by key informants. Due to the sampling method being nonrandomized, external validity of the study is limited, and generalizations should be avoided. Nonetheless, the results of this assessment can be used to develop a better understanding of vulnerabilities and gaps, and can serve as a basis to guide more comprehensive data collection efforts.
Data was collected through phone surveys administered by 13 IOM staff between 2 and 12 October 2020. Seventy-seven per cent of enumerators were female and 23 per cent were male.