Australia is a multicultural country where many of it’s citizens and permanent residents (PR) migrated from overseas. Therefore, thousands of Australian’s and PR have parents living abroad. Currently parents are unable to to travel to Australia to be reunited with family because they are not classed as ‘immediate family’. Parents are essential and connection with family is equally as important to migrants as it is to families living in Australia. Australians and PR have not seen their parents for a significant amount of time due to the travel ban and a strict exemption criteria which prevents people from obtaining exemptions unless they have a ‘compelling reason’. Covid-19 has impacted many Australians, however, being apart from parents for an extended period of time without an 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. Citizens and PR have jobs and responsibilities with they cannot leave for 3 months or more.
We therefore ask the House to add parents as an exemption category. If exemptions cannot be obtained for parents coming to Australia please consider allowing exemption for people with family overseas to travel. Reunification with family should be a compelling and compassionate reason.