Melbourne-based Maulik Pandya is losing hope. He says he might decide to leave Australia for good.
NRI Affairs Correspondent
Image: NRI Affairs
Maulik Pandya has been waiting for his wife to arrive in Australia for 27 months. He got married in 2019 and applied for his wife’s visa right after coming back to Australia.
He says, “I had applied for student dependent visa, and then we waited for 11 months but did not receive any response from the Immigration department. Then my visa expired.”
He then applied for a 485 visa for himself, which he received in three months.
“Then again, I had to wait for six months to apply for my wife’s visa. Now she has a 485 visa, but we need to apply for exemption due to COVID-related travel restrictions,” Mr Pandya told NRI Affairs.
485 Visa is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. It is a temporary visa that allows international students to live, study and work after they have finished their studies.
However, temporary residents are generally not be permitted to enter Australia.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, “If you hold a temporary visa or do not yet hold a valid visa for Australia, you must provide proof of your relationship (such as your marriage certificate, evidence of your de-facto relationships such as shared finances or property, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children) to the Department before you travel to Australia. Do not travel until we advise that you can.”
However, many applicants say the exemption is challenging to get.
Social activist Joh Gwynn says the exemptions are impossible to get as the government has no plan to expand their travel exemption criteria to include these partners.
“This narrow travel exemption criterion excludes thousands of committed partners, many of which have relationships spanning several years, sometimes with children, yet who have not had a chance to live together long-term or marry,” says Ms Gwynn.
The situation has left many applicants hopeless. Maulik Pandya says he might leave Australia for good.
“We are already hopeless. We have waited for 27 months. Last week we decided to move to another country. If we don’t get the exemption if they don’t hear us, unfortunately, we will have to leave this country for somewhere else,” says Mr Pandya. He works in Clinical Research, which a critical sector according to the Federal Government skills list.