I have lived here half my life. Please help my mum and me become Australian citizens.

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My name is Sara Passarini, I’m 18 years old and I live in Perth. Over eight years ago, my mum brought me to Australia from Italy, when she was getting out of a dangerous family situation and marriage with my father. Based on the lawyer’s advice, I was only told about the move an hour before we left for the airport. It all happened very suddenly and I had to leave everything I had ever known behind. 

Since then, I have grown up in Australia, made friends and embraced it as my home. However, due to our past circumstances, I am on a bridging visa and will have to stay on one for the next 50 years. This will seriously restrict my travel, education and the jobs I can work in. Please sign my petition to stand with me and appeal this unjust situation.

My mum did her best to help us start our new life. She tried to get a qualification to become a skilled migrant. However, the trauma from the difficult divorce and from uprooting our lives had deep mental health impacts on my mum and she struggled to cope with it all.

As a result, she applied for the only permanent residency pathway we were eligible for -  the Remaining Relative Visa that has a 50 year wait period. My mum will be over 100 years old and I will be in my 70s before we can call ourselves permanent residents of Australia. Obviously, it is not reasonable or fair for us to live on a bridging visa for that long. 

Now, eight years on, after severe financial struggles, family conflicts and anxiety, I want to take my future into my own hands and go to university. But this is not possible - despite spending half my life in Australia, I’m still classed as an international student. I will have to pay triple the amount of university fees as my friends. I’ll have to pay this amount upfront for each unit because I’m not entitled to a HECS loan. 

I feel stranded because of my visa situation. I can’t move forward because of decisions made by the adults in my life when I was nine years old. I have contacted several government departments, law firms and universities but they say there is nothing they can do to help me. 

I hope to bring my case to the attention of members of the state and federal government and ask for their intervention. Please sign this petition to support me in appealing my unfair situation.