FAMILY FRIENDLY TOURIST VISAS - ADDRESSING INEQUITY IN AUSTRALIA'S APPROVAL SYSTEM
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My daughter was hoping that her beloved aunt would be able to visit her in Australia this summer to celebrate her 12th birthday with her, but this isn't going to happen. The reason is simple. Her aunt is not from the United Kingdom or another wealthy developed country, and nor is she married or in a highly paid job. Our immigration officials therefore judged that she would find Australia too good a place to be and would fail to return home. I know this is not the case and would stake my house on it. However, there is no mechanism for me to do so. I cannot offer the government a bond of a quantum sufficient to cover the costs of repatriating her (an amount to cover the labour costs of any police and immigration officials sent to retrieve her, the costs of temporary detention and the cost of an airfare home), not because I can't raise the money, but because the rules just don't allow for it.
Politicians I have contacted have all just told me the same thing. They have simply restated what I already know. Under the current rules and without a drastic change in her personal circumstances (i.e. she marries and/or gets a high paying job), there is no hope of my sister in law visiting. This is not good enough. Our elected representatives are there to make and change laws for the benefit of our society. They should be undertaking action to remedy the situation, either through their parties or via private members bills. My sister in law's situation is not unique. I have since learned of many families who find themselves unable to host their relatives while other Australians have no such difficulty. This discrimination needs to be addressed. Families need to be given the chance to enjoy time together, and our tourism and hospitality industry should be given the chance to benefit from the additional visitors a more sympathetic approvals system would allow.
I am not proposing any change that would present a risk to our country. These are visas that are being rejected solely on the basis that the applicants may supposedly decide not to leave. All I am asking is that their Australian families be given the opportunity to provide a guarantee backed by a bond payment so that they can open their homes and enjoy time together just as most other Australians are able to do. This addresses the immigration concerns and the needs of families.
Please sign this petition to the Minister of Home Affairs and make representations to the Shadow Minister to help achieve a fairer outcome.
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