The six Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf host some of the largest global populations of international labor migrants. As COVID-19 began spreading across the Gulf, migrants made up a large share of the positive cases identified. Migrants’ living and working conditions in the Gulf and other structural vulnerabilities increased their exposure to the disease. Despite the risks of staying in the Gulf, many lower-income migrants preferred to do rather than returning to their home countries. For them, travel restrictions and the difficulty of finding work back home in the midst of the pandemic have outweighed the immediate danger of infection and illness.

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