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I am forced to watch my daughter burst into tears often via video call because she misses her mother, is overwhelmed with raising her son.

As parents, we often face the heartbreaking task of confronting the fact that our children’s future is compromised in the country they were born in. Wanting to keep them safe and hoping they are able to carve out a beautiful life for themselves, we take the heart-wrenching decision to let them go and trust another country and government with the lives and well-being of our children.

As a 51-year-old mother, I am too “old” to emigrate to Australia. I am too old to work and carve out a life for myself and have the privilege of being closer to my daughter and the almost 3-year-old grandson I have yet to meet. Too old, even though I am physically fit and healthy with at least another 20 years on the employment-clock. Despite the wisdom and experience I and many other parents have to offer in the commercial sector, we are too old to work our way to permanent residency, and citizenship – according to you. But at the same time, I am too young for a parent visa, and alternative emigration options are extremely drawn-out and crushingly expensive. For parents who do meet the criteria and able to afford these fees, they are forced to wait years and years for approval.

These policies and restrictions do nothing but destroy families. Grandchildren that grow up without their grandparents and children who have no help when raising them. Daughters who pine for their parents are left to navigate motherhood on their own, and often end up feeling isolated, lonely, and depressed. Sons torn from their parents out of desperation to care for their children. I am forced to watch my daughter burst into tears often via video call because she misses her mother, is overwhelmed with raising her son, and just wants a comforting arm around her. I am forced to hide my own tears so that I can continue encouraging her as best I can. When the call is over, I am devastated that I can’t; I am not allowed to be there in person for my daughter. All the loops I have to jump through to try and reunite with her, only to realize I can never meet the discriminating criteria set up through your immigration policies. We don’t want anything from the Australian government but the opportunity to contribute to our children’s lives.

It is a policy that causes so much heartache and destruction for the family unit as a whole. The fact that parents of any age are considered a burden is so far off the mark and completely imprudent. Any family unit that is split, is tragic despite our best efforts to function normally and overcome the obstacles we face. Parents have no desire to leech off any government but ask only that we are allowed to be a part of our children and grandchildren’s lives, and if needed, to be in a position to be able to source an income from any employer willing to employ us. 

No other fees in the world are as high as the Australian parent visas and no waiting period as long, and this excludes the strict and prejudicial criteria. It’s as though these processing times are deliberately delayed in the hopes that parents pass on before these visas are issued. The high fees leave the impression that they are intentionally unaffordable so as to deter applications for these visas.

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