DP15590 Being on the Frontline? Immigrant Workers in Europe and the COVID-19 Pandemic
We provide a first systematic assessment of the labor market impact of COVID-19 on immigrant workers in Europe. In the first year of the pandemic, we estimate that Extra EU migrants were twice as likely to have their job terminated relative to comparable natives, while for EU migrants this probability was 1.6 times larger. To understand the determinants of these large gaps, we focus on three job characteristics: essentiality, temporariness and teleworkability. After documenting differential migrant-native distribution along these three dimensions, we estimate that this pre-pandemic occupational sorting accounts for around 50% of the explained native-migrants gaps in the risk of employment termination; sorting into industries accounts for the other half. Further, we estimate a larger penalty for migrants from being employed in low-teleworkable occupations. Even within narrow occupation/industry cells, however, more than half of the migrant-native gap in job separation probability remains unexplained.