We’re fundraising to support undocumented migrants and their families who don’t qualify for government assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.
Organised in collaboration between Undocumented Migrants Solidarity and Anticolonial Asian Alliance (Kulin Nation), this fund will provide financial support for our communities who are locked out of public resources, and pushed further into the shadows with the current crisis response.
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Why Undocumented Migrants?
There are between 60,000 to 100,0000 undocumented migrants (meaning people without visas) in Australia.
In the COVID-19 crisis, undocumented migrants have no universal guarantee of medical treatment. While some states have committed to waiving medical bills during the crisis for overseas visitors, this does not go far enough. There must be a guarantee of full medical care, irrespective of visa status, across the country. Undocumented migrants cannot be faced with detention and deportation from Australia if they present for medical care.
Undocumented migrants work in essential services during the crisis to pick and pack the food that we eat – in industries including farms, abattoirs and factories – to clean our spaces, and in construction. Despite this, their work is not valued.
They earn poverty wages, work under exploitative conditions, and are not offered workplace benefits such as health care, paid sick leave, or access to income support. This means that undocumented workers not only have a higher risk of exposure to the virus, but are also likely to be forced to work if they are sick.
While there has been public attention on the position of temporary migrants during the crisis, there is no recognition of the struggles that undocumented migrants and their families face, or how easily these precarious legal categories of documented and undocumented slide into each other.
The Undocumented Migrants COVID-19 Fund has been established to provide immediate material relief to people with precarious visa status and who cannot access government support to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
Where will my money go?
We aim to raise $60,000 which will be put directly in the hands of organisations and groups that work with undocumented people in their community, as well as people at risk of becoming undocumented.
These organisations and campaigns include:
- Tamil Refugee Council – a community-based advocacy campaign for Tamil migrants and refugees throughout the country;
- Jaffari Association of Australia – a grassroots organisation working with young people from the Hazara community who have sought asylum in Australia;
- United Workers Union – solidarity and fighting fund for undocumented and precarious workers across farms, cleaning and hospitality, including some workers taking action to protest closures and poor conditions during the pandemic;
To register your organisation’s interest in receiving emergency relief funds, contact Undocumented Migrants Solidarity.
As we understand heightened feelings of fear at this moment, we will maintain your privacy and confidentiality in our communications and will work with you to seek consent and accountability in all steps of our process.
What are the funds for?
All funds will be distributed directly to organisations working with undocumented migrants (and people are risk of becoming undocumented) to arrange emergency relief packages to their members. This includes, but is not limited to, immediate health expenses, groceries, paying rent, education fees, and visa renewals.
Any additional funds will go towards capacity-building for grassroots organisations with undocumented members so that they can continue to respond to and advocate on behalf of their membership during the COVID-19 crisis and its fallout.
The organisers of Anticolonial Asian Alliance and Undocumented Migrants Solidarity acknowledge that they live and work on the sacred, stolen lands of the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation, over which Sovereignty was never ceded. In response to Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance’s call to Pay The Rent , 10% of donations will be paid to Grandmothers Against Removals.
How will the funds be administered?
The management and distribution of funds will be jointly overseen by the Anticolonial Asian Alliance (Kulin Nation) and Undocumented Migrants Solidarity – a coalition of migrant organisers, unionists, students, educators, lawyers, arts and social workers who have come together in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Undocumented Migrants Solidarity will meet weekly to administer and distribute the funds. Money disbursement will depend on the amount of money raised, requests received and need.
Header artwork by Lee Lai.
- Jeff Thompson
- Patrick Gardner
- Tracy C
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