The Impact of COVID-19 on Daily-wage Work and the Refugee Households that Rely on it in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), March 2021| UNHCR
14 April 2021
Iraq, particularly the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), has become host to a significant population of refugees after decades of regional and domestic conflict, compounded by the activities of the the group known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Syrian civil war, and political turbulence in countries like Iran, Turkey, and Yemen, giving rise to a regional refugee crisis.1 In the absence of proper work contracts, social protection norms, and defined labour regulations for refugees, a high proportion of refugee households operate in the informal sector.2 Informal workers in Iraq comprise 52% of the total workforce, the majority of whom are daily-wage workers.3 This segment of the workforce is particularly vulnerable to the economic and labour market shocks as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt across Iraq.
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversly impacted the Iraqi economy at a time when it was already fragile due to prolonged and protracted instability in the region and a fall in oil prices.4 For refugee households engaging in daily-wage work, especially, COVID-19 and its related developments such as lockdowns, movement restrictions, and other mitigation measures, have greatly affected livelihood and employment opportunities. Research to assess the impact of COVID-19 on daily-wage work and particularly on refugee households that rely on it is, however, limited. As such, IMPACT Initiatives (IMPACT) conducted a qualitative assessment, funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), aimed at better understanding whether, and to what extent, daily-wage work and the socio-economic conditions of refugee households that rely on income from daily-wage work have been impacted since the COVID-19 pandemic started in KR-I in March 2020