Many families with their children took to the streets in different cities across Australia, requesting Federal Government to allow parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel to Australia as immediate family members.
On Saturday, dozens assembled in a peaceful assembly in a bid to make their voices be heard across the country. These families requested the Federal Government to consider parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel to Australia.
According to the travel restrictions during the pandemic, only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members can enter Australia. However, parents are not considered immediate family members.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, “You are only considered to be an immediate family member if you are a spouse, a de facto partner, a dependent child, a legal guardian.”
Adelaide-based Manav Jaggi says that, currently, parents cannot travel to Australia to be reunited with the family because they are not classed as ‘immediate family’.
He said, “Parents are essential, and connection with the family is as important for migrants as it is for the families originating from Australia. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, himself often speaks out on the importance of his family, both of his wife and children, and his mother.”
Many immigrants have been demanding to add parents to the immediate family members’ list to allow them to arrive in Australia.
A petition (Petition EN2535 – Exemption for parents of Australians and Permanent Residents) to the government of Australia demanded to add parents as an exemption category.
Mr Jaggi says that there is no doubt Covid-19 has impacted many Australians; however, being apart from parents for an extended period without any indication of when they will be reunited puts unrealistic expectations on those desperate to see family.
“This has had a profound impact, mental health has significantly declined, children have not met grandparents, people have had to give up work due to limited support and families are having to re-evaluate their lives in Australia and have had to leave despite being here for many years,” he added.
Australian citizens and Permanent residents are denied the right to leave the country to visit family, unless for a minimum of 3 months.
“Most have jobs and responsibilities deeming this minimum timeframe unrealistic or impossible. Occasionally, travel exemptions are granted based on ‘compelling or compassionate grounds; however, these are extremely rare,” said Mr Jaggi.