The purpose of this paper is to draw on data from interviews with six Italian migrant service providers and media stories in Italy and Australia to weave a comparative snapshot of the plight of precarious migrant and refugee communities in these two countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The article draws attention to prejudicial shortcomings towards vulnerable migrant communities enacted by the states of Italy and Australia in response to COVID-19.
While the unequal ecology of the pandemic has flared up the need for the State to strengthen participation and inclusion policies, it has also provided opportunities to foreground the disadvantages vulnerable communities face that also demand policy attention and sustained funding. Governments in migrant-receiving countries like Australia and Italy need to articulate culturally sensitive and inclusive responses that foreground agencies give vulnerable migrants, asylum seekers and refugees clear, supportive messages of solidarity leading to practical solutions.
This paper relays preliminary data from the coalface (migrant service providers) and media as the pandemic evolved in the two countries, whose support mechanisms had never before been critically compared and evaluated through the lens of racial inequality in the face of a health and social crisis.