The whole experience of settling down in Australia has left Melbourne-based Sandeep Kaur so frustrated that she sometimes doubts her decision. The last few months especially have been extraordinarily challenging.
Sandeep Kaur, a permanent resident of Australia , says she has to pay international students fees for both of her daughters education.
“I am paying international students fees. It is really hard on me. There’s a lot of financial burden involved around it. So, for a school which charges around $400 per year ,I am paying around $2500 for both of my daughters every month,” Sandeep told NRI Affairs.
Sandeep Kaur lives in Melbourne. She made her first entry to Australia in 2007.
She explains, “I returned to India, got married and had daughters. Then, in 2018, we decided to move to Australia. I came as a resident, and my children came with me as visitors, so did my husband. And then, I applied for a partner visa in December 2018.”
It’s been over a year and half, and the family is still waiting for their visa. Sandeep says all the documents, including the medical certificates, had been submitted.
She claims the department took time to process those, and in the meantime the medical certificates expired. The family then retook the husband’s medical and submitted it.
“The medical was required because there was a delay in processing (and) the previous medicals had expired. Had they done it in the processing period, they would not have asked for medicals again. But, we understand that there was Covid so my husband retook the medical . I kept on asking what about the medicals of my daughters. They never replied. I kept asking why you didn’t release my daughters’ visa because I am paying international students’ fees, which is hard on me. There was no response”, she says.
Finally, when the department asked for the daughters medical in July, Victoria was in lockdown.
“During the lockdown, they don’t consider Medical for Visa an essential service. So, I could not book an appointment for them. Finally the restrictions were lifted and we booked our daughters’ medicals in August. The younger one got her medical done on 2 August. My older daughter’s appointment was on 7 August, and we went in lockdown on 6 August,” explains Sandeep Kaur, adding that she is still waiting for the restrictions to be lifted.
Every passing week is a substantial financial burden on the family. Sandeep says they had enough funds to support the family during these times, but the whole experience has left her dismayed.
She despairs, “I have been writing to all these officials, politicians and who’s who but in vain. People listen to me, they sympathise with me, but they say they cannot do anything.”
She says it is a very simple task.
“Medical for a visa is an essential service. If I can go to a hospital for any other medical reason ; this is just a blood and urine test. I can still get a takeaway if I don’t want to cook! So why are you not allowing this? It is affecting people like me not just financially but mentally also.”
NRI Affairs approached the Department of Health and Human Services with some queries, and are waiting for a response .
Meanwhile, Sandeep Kaur says her experience as a new migrant has been frustrating so far.
Last year she lost her father while he was visiting her, and she is still fighting with the insurance company, which, she claims, has refused to pay the bills.
“I’m stressed. I’m unemployed right now. I’m a casual teacher, and with schools locked down, there’s no work for me. My husband used to work for a Singapore-based company but he has no work here. He has tried to look for work here, and he’s trying hard, but he needs to be a resident to work in Australia. So how do we get that,” asks Sandeep Kaur.
When asked if she regrets moving to Australia, Sandeep says, “Sometimes I do… sometimes I really do.”