Safely Reunite Committed Binational Couples & Families
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In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia closed its international borders as an important step in protecting the health and safety of all Australians. While these travel restrictions were - and continue to be - critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19, they have left thousands of binational couples separated indefinitely. Months of separation with no end in sight has severely impacted the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of thousands of Australians and their serious partners.
Australia is unique in that not only has inbound travel been restricted, but Australian citizens and permanent residents are prohibited from leaving the country without an exemption from the Australian Border Force. Exemptions granted by the ABF for both entering and leaving Australia have been particularly inconsistent, with some couples submitting 20+ applications and hundreds of pages of documentation before receiving an exemption, and many more still awaiting the chance to reunite with our loved ones. Furthermore, celebrities, athletes, and the wealthy have been allowed enter and exit Australia with ease while we remain separated from our partners and families for an undefined period of time.
We are calling on the Australian government to:
- Put an end to the wildly inconsistent and arbitrary assessments of ABF officers at present
- Provide travel exemptions for long distance couples who can provide evidence of commitment, regardless of marriage and other outdated measures (shared accounts, leases, etc.) currently utilised by the ABF
- Prioritise exemptions for partners of Australians before tourists, celebrities and athletes all of whom have have been shown greater attention and priority.
- Provide a clear and appropriate timeline for when Australia will open borders so Australians and their partners are no longer left in a state of limbo
- Explore, expand, review and improve the quarantine processes for their arrival
These exemptions will allow:
- Australians to continue their lives currently held in purgatory since March 2020
- Alleviate the crippling mental health and emotional and physical stresses currently felt by separated partners over an indefinite time period
- Align Australia with other forward thinking and leading nations such as Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, who have exemption processes for partners
- Provide financial incentive and economic recovery to airline and airport staff, quarantine hotels and their workers
This is in no way a call for Australia to completely open its borders for international arrivals, rather extend compassion to the partners of Aussies who have chosen to call Australia home and contribute to our nation.
We appreciate the precautions that have been taken to protect the Australian public and understand the restrictions for international tourists, but we are not tourists. Our goal is simply to see our loved ones again after many months apart. While repatriation of Aussies stranded overseas should be the top priority, we urge the Australian government to recognize the mental, emotional, and physical suffering we have experienced for months as a result of this separation. We hope to be able to continue our relationships and our futures with the ones we love, while protecting the health of the public in the process. We will gladly pay for our own hotel quarantine and will submit to any testing and further precautions necessary upon departure or arrival.
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