Border Officers: How to respond to COVID19

Border Officers: How to respond to COVID19

The COVID19 pandemic has sparked differing responses throughout the world. In Central America and the Caribbean, a common response has been the closure of borders or alterations in border management policies. 

In implementing these changes and working through the pandemic, IOM offers the following five recommendations to personnel involved in Immigration and Border Management.   

  1. Deliver COVID19 Training to Immigration and Border Health Staff 

It is important that this training includes the Emergency Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to manage ill travelers as well as prevent and control infections. The National and WHO COVID-19 response guidelines should be covered in detail and each official should pass a test on the contents as a condition to access the work sites. 

  1.  Provide Health Information to Travelers and Improve Hygiene Infrastructure 

Health information should be available in a number of languages, depending on the most common countries of origin of migrants. Hygiene Infrastructure includes: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Masks (N95), gloves, hand sanitizer, Paper scanners (for travel sheets at border crossings), and Patient beds/sheets. It is important to strengthen hygiene standards in response to COVID19.  

  1. Ensure the supply of infrastructure and equipment at Points of Entry 

Supplying the necessary equipment available to Immigration and Border personnel is important for reducing the risks of contagion. This includes: 

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 
  • Supplies for screening, including Infrared (IR) contactless thermometers and thermal scanners. 
  • A Rapid Assessment Questionnaire to properly assess and vet passengers. 
  • Transparent barriers 
  1. Monitor the placement of infrastructure and equipment  

Scanners and barriers should be placed to allow for distance between officials and travelers, as well as between individuals in queues. The evaluation of Secondary Inspection spaces is also key to ensure safety of the officials, and that all information (health and legal) is available to passengers subject to secondary inspection. Fingerprint and document scanners should be relocated on passenger side of inspection barriers to avoid contact between travelers and officials.  

  1. Implement measures to support unwell travelers 

Immigration and Border personnel at Points of Entry must be prepared for every probable situation, including the possibility of the arrival of unwell passengers. Two key strategies can support this. Firstly, the construction of temporary isolation facilities or support facilities (prefabricated buildings). Secondly, support for ambulance or fitted van services between border post and nearest Public health Unit (PHU) or district hospital. 

Whilst we are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the global spread of COVID19, there are concrete steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of migrants and staff at borders and points of entry.  

Note: These recommendations are under constant review and analysis and are subject to change with little notice. It is important to verify that you are aware of the latest version on the control of COVID-19. You can find the complete document here.


Turn on the microphones! Five keys to giving youth a voice on migration issues

Turn on the microphones! Five keys to giving youth a voice on migration issues
Categoria: Communication & Migration
Autor: Guest Contributor

Radio is still a medium that, especially in rural areas where access to the Internet is difficult, is still very much alive and shows itself to be an accessible alternative for the population. Whether in the car, in an app on the phone or in a device that only works with batteries in the most remote areas, the radio is there a few steps away and almost effortlessly. Entertaining us, informing us and accompanying our daily activities. From the largest cities to the most sparsely populated municipalities, radio is an industry that generates jobs and is vital for the dissemination of mass messages to a wide variety of audiences.

How can radio be harnessed as an avenue to empower young people about migration?

After seeing the high impact that this media has on the culture of our communities, these are some actions to be taken that will allow us to bring the message of regular, orderly and safe migration to a youth who may be victims of crimes associated with irregular migration:

  • Find out about community radio or radio stations in your city: This will help you to know all the spaces that exist within the community and to identify the audiences they are aimed at in order to choose the right channel that connects with young people.
  • Identify young leaders in their communities with communication skills: There is no better way to communicate with youth than through voices they can empathize with and identify with.
  • Create content that connects: Talking about migration does not require a serious or monotonous tone. Try to create short but effective messages with easy to understand language and prioritizing the use of storytelling instead of communicating concepts.
  • Create your own online radio station: The radio has undergone a significant evolution in recent years and proof of this is that the number of Internet radio stations has been increasing, which has led to the democratization of radio. You no longer need big budgets to have your own radio station and broadcast different contents 24 hours a day, this is a good alternative if there are not or do not have access to have space on traditional radio stations.
  • Develop empowering initiatives: Young people possess many talents: dynamism, fast learning and, of course, a lot of creativity. Therefore generating training spaces on radio production issues will help to discover hidden talents and form new opinion leaders, without leaving behind the importance of also empowering them on migration issues, this will allow them to transmit better messages that promote a safe, orderly and regular human mobility and will help them themselves to make better decisions regarding migration.

A success story of such activities is 'Youth on the Airwaves', a workshop on radio and migration that harnesses the energy of young people who are leaders in their communities and shows them the potential of the radio industry as a method of generating livelihoods and making their voices heard.

As a product of this initiative, the young people created their own radio spots to promote a better informed migration, from the ideation of the creative concept, script development, voice-over practice, recording and editing, in all these processes they received the support of both IOM staff and a team of experts in radio production.

A few years ago, former United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon stressed that "radio is very important to make the voice of youth heard, it stimulates the imagination and shortens the distances between people". One more reason to bring the media closer and generate spaces for youth in order to disseminate messages aimed at providing the population with sufficient and verified information that will allow them to make better decisions before embarking on a migratory route.