The coronavirus pandemic can trigger migration from low-income countries to the EU, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said on Tuesday.

According to an EASO report released on May 7, people living in low-income countries having reduced access to medical care could search for better opportunities in EU countries in the medium term.

“Combined with lacking access to hand-washing facilities, crowded living conditions and low levels of literacy, the risk of destabilizing effects resulting from COVID-19 outbreaks have the potential to affect future asylum trends,” EASO said in a statement.

The power gap in the Middle East after the suspension of global coalition operations across the region could also be exploited by terrorist organizations such as Daesh/ISIS, it added.

“Indirect [such as a resurgence of ISIS] and direct consequences [famine, conflict and security risks] of the virus might affect asylum-related migration to the EU+, and contribute the most to new applications or the reception population,” the communique said.

Europe is among the most important regions in terms of migratory flows. Germany, Spain, the UK and France host the highest numbers of the estimated 31.9 million non-EU nationals residing in the continent, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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