Jelena Predojević Despić, Vesna Lukić

DOI Number
First page
Last page


This paper studies the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on different groups of migrants from Serbia. The paper aims to identify and analyse difficulties and the most migration-related stressful issues that international migrants from Serbia coped with due to the societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We explored how they perceive those migration-related stressors and how they act in the context of limitations and opportunities in countries of origin and destination out of necessity to counter these challenges. We also highlighted the migration plans in accordance with the migration motives before the pandemic, and the possibilities for their realisation after the pandemic. The paper is based on qualitative research conducted using semi-structured in-depth telephone interviews with 34 participants.

As major migration-related stressors that were singled out are those associated with professional and financial hardship, their return, legal status, stigma, health and family. The results indicate the importance of the migration context for understanding the ability of individuals to cope with numerous and sudden challenges in crisis situations.



COVID-19 pandemic, international migration, migrant workers, migration-related stressors, Serbia

Full Text:



Arandarenko, M. (2020). Politička ekonomija izlaska iz lojalnosti: Uticaj emigracije i doznaka na socioekonomski razvoj Srbije. Beograd: Fondacija Fridrih Ebert.

Aroian, K. (1993). Mental health risks and problems encountered by illegal immigrants. Issues of Mental Health Nursing, 14(4): 379-397.

Barriball, K. & White, A. (1994). Collecting Data Using a Semi-Structured Interview: A Discussion Paper. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19: 328–335.

Baxter, J., & Eyles, J. (1997). Evaluating Qualitative Research in Social Geography: Establishing ‘Rigour’ in Interview Analysis. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 22(4): 505–525. Benjamin, A., Kuperman, Y., Eren, N. et al. (2021). Stress-related emotional and behavioural impact following the first COVID-19 outbreak peak. Molecular Psychiatry

Berry, J.W., Kim, U. , Minde, T. & Mok, D. (1987). Comparative studies of acculturative stress. International Migration Review, 21: 491–511.

Bhandri, D., Kotera, Y., Ozaki, A. et al. (2021). COVID-19: challenges faced by Nepalese migrants living in Japan. BMC Public Health, 21(1): 752.

Czaika, M., & Villares Varela, M. (2012). Labour market activity, occupational change and length of stay in the Gulf. IMI Working Papers Series 2012, No. 56.

Chowdhury, M.B. & Chakraborty, M. (2021). The Impact of COVID-19 on the Migrant Workers and Remittances Flow to Bangladesh. South Asian Survey, 28(1): 38 –56.

Dow, H. (2011). An Overview of Stressors Faced by Immigrants and Refugees: A Guide forMental Health Practitioners. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 23(3): 210-217.

Crawley, H., & Hagen-Zanker, J. (2019). Deciding Where to go: Policies, People and Perceptions Shaping Destination Preferences. International Migration, 57(1): 20-35.

Fasani, F., & Mazza, J. (2020). Immigrant Key Workers: Their Contribution to Europe's COVID-19 Response. IZA Policy Paper No. 155.

Garrote-Sanchez D., Gomez-Parra, N., Ozden, C., & Rijkers, B. (2020). Which Jobs Are Most Vulnerable to COVID-19? What an Analysis of the European Union Reveals: Research & Policy Brief 34. World Bank

Guadagno, L. (2020). Migrants and the COVID-19 pandemic: An initial analysis. Migration Research Series 60, International Organization for Migration.

Hospo Voice. (2020). RebuildHospo: a post-Covid roadmap for secure jobs in hospitality.

Järv, O.,Tominga, A., Müürisepp, K., & Silm, S. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on daily lives of transnational people based on smartphone data: Estonians in Finland. Journal of Location Based Services, 15 (3): 169-197.

Khoo, S., McDonald, P., Voigt-Graf , C. et al. (2007). A Global Labor Market: Factors Motivating the Sponsorship and Temporary Migration of Skilled Workers to Australia. Int. Migr. Rev. 41 (2): 480–510.

Kluge, H.H., Jakab, Z., Bartovic, J., D Anna, Veronika & Santino, S. (2020). Refugee and migrant health in the COVID-19 response. Lancet. 2020; 395:1237–1239.

Luthans, F. (2002). Organizational Behavior. An evidence-Based Approach. McGraw-Hill, New York .

Mak, J., Zimmerman, C. & Roberts, B. (2021). I had tears in my eyes but I just left without looking back. A qualitative study of migration-related stressors amongst Nepali male labour migrants. Journal of Migration and Health 4: 100042.

Mak J., Roberts B. & Zimmerman C. (2021) Coping with migration-related stressors - a qualitative study of Nepali male labour migrants. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 23:389–404.

Mirkov, A. & Poleti Ćosić D. (2020). International Mobility of Serbian Citizens at the Outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 11(2):173-176.

McGuirk, P. M., & O'Neill, P. (2016). Using questionnaires in qualitative human geography. In I. Hay (Eds.), Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, (246-273). Oxford University Press.

Moroz, H., Maheshwor, S. & Testaverde, M. (2020). Potential Responses to the COVID-19 Outbreak in Support of Migrant Workers (June 19, 2020). COVID-19 Living Paper World Bank Group.

OECD. (2020). International Migration Outlook 2020, Paris: OECD Publishing.

Pešić J. (2020). COVID-19, mobility and self-isolation. Experiences of the Serbia’s citizens in the times of global pandemic. Sociologija, 62(4):467-485.

Predojević-Despić, J. & Penev, G. (2016) Population of Serbia Abroad by Destination Countries: Regional Approach, Bulletin of the Serbian Geographical Society, 96(2):83-106.

Vesković Anđelković, M. (2021). The experiences and expectations of returnees to Serbia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stanovništvo, 59(1): 47–60.

Wong, D. F. K., & Song, H. X. (2008). The resilience of migrant workers in Shanghai China: the roles of migration stress and meaning of migration. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 54(2): 131-143.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

© University of Niš, Serbia
Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND
Print ISSN: 0353-7919
Online ISSN: 1820-7804