Covid-19 and Ukrainian seasonal migrant workers in Poland : A case study of livelihoods and coping strategies

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic that erupted in 2020 has impacted most livelihoods and increased poverty levels worldwide. This thesis considers the impact which the Corona pandemic has had on Ukrainian seasonal migrant workers’ livelihoods in Poland. The societal travel restrictions’ short-term effects on the seasonal livelihoods are investigated along with the subsequent short-term coping strategies used by the seasonal migrant workers. The study draws on primary data from 10 semi-structured, digital interviews conducted with Ukrainian seasonal migrant workers from different sectors who worked in Poland during the pandemic period. Through the Sustainable Livelihood Framework, the cases were individually considered whilst also comparing within the sample groups from the sectors agriculture, construction, domestic services, culinary, and warehouse work. The findings of the study show that the seasonal migration livelihood strategy was resilient, lowered vulnerability, and allowed for sustainable livelihood outcomes despite the Corona pandemic. Travel restrictions and other institutional processes enabled or disabled the seasonal workers. Despite the Corona pandemic, the seasonal migration livelihood strategy was used as a short-, medium- and long-term strategy to alleviate poverty. The study increases the multidimensional understanding of the pandemic effects on Ukrainian seasonal workers in Poland. Therefore, this research provides an understanding of poverty alleviation, seasonal migration livelihood strategies, and resilience in a pandemic context.

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