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Quarterly Mixed Migration Update Asia, Quarter 2, 2021

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This Quarterly Mixed Migration Update (QMMU) covers Southern and Southeast Asia. The core countries of focus for this region are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand. Depending on the quarterly trends and migration-related updates, more attention may be given to any of the countries over the rest.

The QMMUs offer a quarterly update on new trends and dynamics related to mixed migration and relevant policy developments in the region. These updates are based on a compilation of a wide range of secondary (data) sources, brought together within a regional framework and applying a mixed migration analytical lens. Similar QMMUs are available for all MMC regions.

Key Updates

• COVID-19 restrictions cast continued uncertainty over labor migration from South Asian countries:
As the deadly surge of COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant sweeps across South Asia, labor migration grinds to a halt. The future of those who were forced to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic also remains uncertain.

• Refugees and migrants across the region struggle to access COVID-19 vaccines: Limited vaccine supplies coupled with large increases in COVID-19 cases have resulted in many Asian countries locking out marginalized groups, including refugees and migrants from accessing the vaccine.

• Climate change triggers displacement and migration across the region: This quarter saw large-scale displacement across the region as a result of climate change-induced natural disasters including in Indonesia, Timor-Leste, and India. Meanwhile, drought continues to significantly affect many in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

• Rising mental health concerns continue for refugees and migrants across the region: Concerns for the mental health wellbeing of refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants continue in Australia and Singapore.

• Cross-border migration from Myanmar to Thailand and India continues, fueled by the military coup:
Myanmar civilians, including those defecting from the security forces, continue attempting to find safety in Thailand and India, sparking warnings that mass migration movements could quickly unfold.

• A perfect storm for continued crisis in Afghanistan: Intensified violence, conflict, the pandemic, and economic depression are exacerbating existing humanitarian and migration crises in Afghanistan.