Family’s Visa turmoil: ‘We don’t know what is next’
A YOUNG Gold Coast mother is pleading with the Federal Government to show compassion as immigration laws threaten to tear her husband away.
Mum-of-one Ella Hayes has been waiting more than a year for her husband Dale's partnership visa to be approved.
The family has been unable to make an income for some time as Mr Fletcher, a British expat, is one of 90,000 caught up in the partner visa backlog.
Mr Fletcher has had to remain in the country under a tourist visa which means he has no working rights, leaving him unable to financially support his Gold Coast-born wife and seven-month-old child.
Despite being on the list for 14 months, the family say they have been "left in limbo" with no approval date in sight and Mr Fletcher's tourist visa set to run out in less than 60 days.
Should Mr Fletcher's approval for the partner visa eventually be approved, he will still be forced to leave the country for a short time and cover quarantine and return flight costs to the UK as part of a legislative technicality - a cost the family says it cannot afford.
"We have been together for five years and got married last year. He has worked here with sponsorship and paid taxes to this country. It is only because of coronavirus we are in this position,'' Mrs Hayes said.
"Ultimately, we are living off savings while we wait, watching it go down every day.
"Our son has feeding issues so I can't be away from him for more than three hours at a time, so that rules me out of working at the moment. We are at a point where we don't know what is next."
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said while they couldn't comment on individual cases, there were no provisions in legislation to avoid having to leave the country.
"The Department is aware that some visitors in Australia may not be able to return home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and has provided Visa options for those who have been affected by disruptions caused by the pandemic," they said.
"The Government wil continue to monitor the impact of the broad range of Visa arrangements and respond as necessary to protect Australians' health and to support economic recovery."
The family was one of many which signed a petition pushing for changes to allow partner visas to be approved on-shore.
"Just this small change would be a big relief," she said.
"We are looking at more than a couple of thousand dollars in him flying back to the UK and then home to quarantine, all to tick a box.
"We would have gone to the UK if we had known how long it will take. It is awful. We feel so helpless and there are no other options now because of the pandemic," Mrs Hayes said in tears.
"Some days you just cry, looking that we can't live a normal life yet, waiting to start our life, stressing over every cent.
"I know we aren't the only ones, at least we are together now.
"There are other families in the same position that haven't even met their children yet."
The petition to change the off-shore requirements for the partner visa will be introduced into Federal Parliament on Monday.
Originally published as Family's Visa turmoil: 'We don't know what is next'