Liandra Chapman's Story.
WHY MAKE IT SO DIFFICULT?
How do the Australian government benefit by making family emigration so difficult and stressful!
This is my story, I am English. I was a single parent with two great children born when I was 17
and 18 years old, I divorced their violent father by the time I was 21 – my father incidentally
worked for the Australian Air Force based in Butterworth, Malaysia, where I met my husband a
My life always has been and always will be my children, I had a few minor but failed relationships
since but as I always put my family first so relationships never lasted. My son travelled a lot
including all around Australia and decided Perth was the ideal place to live and raise a family,
so bought his new wife out here on holiday – luckily she felt the same. So we decided to all
move out here.
My son and his wife applied first and as a bricklayer he was accepted and within a year they
were happily living in Perth. My daughter and her fiancée then applied and as carpenter and
hairdresser they too were accepted but waited a very long 18 months for the decision to be
final. Can you imagine each morning for 18 months rushing to the door every time your heard
the postman for that length of time – as it turned out the waiting ultimately destroyed their
Once my son had been here two years I was eligible to apply – since then I have been to the
depths of depression to the heights of elation and back on many occasions. As a parent with all
my children living here I was eligible for a permanent parent visa – then found out the wait
would be approximately 9 years – I was horrified and spent a holiday here with my family every
6 months for two years. Then after much research on the Internet and by phoning immigration
both here and in the UK found that once I was 55 I could apply for a Retirement Visa. I worked
for BT and they were offering an excellent voluntary redundancy packing including a pension
for all those over 55 – I thought this was the answer to my dreams, I could at last leave the UK
and join my family, my son who by this time had a baby daughter.
I was told all assets would be considered including my pension, property and investments to
amount to the sum of 250 thousand UK pounds or $600k. I carefully worked out that yes I had
this amount. I found out I could apply in Australia for this type of visa so to join my family sooner
I applied for a 1 year visitor visa intending to apply while living here. I was 6 months into my
visa when I applied; firstly I received a letter saying I would have my visa within 6 weeks, then I
got a letter from the same gentlemen requesting further information – which I supplied. I then
got a letter from a female saying my visa would be sent out within 6 weeks. Then I got a phone
call from the same lady saying there was a problem, they wouldn’t count my pension as I was
already receiving an income from it. They wouldn’t count my house as I had bought it in my
children’s name; as I couldn’t purchase in my name until I received my visa. Checking with the
Foreign Investment Board I wasn’t allowed to purchase a house until I had my visa – see my
problem! My contact at DIMA was at least as helpful as she was allowed – then she left and no
one else seemed interested or was ever available.
However, luckily for me they decided the growing list of parents waiting for a visa was becoming
an embarrassment to the government and they were obviously receiving pressure to reduce
this list – how many people died waiting I wonder! So to make it easy, the decided to introduce
a new category – The Contributory Parent Visa – whereby you give the government an
enormous amount of money to jump the queue basically ie $35,000. However, you need to add
to that $3,000 for an agent –, as it’s impossible to manage yourself. Plus at least another
$2,000 for the trips overseas you need to make as you are unable to apply or receive this visa
whilst in the country – see again how can I apply when I’m not here!
4 months later I was still waiting and I think my health is beginning to suffer under the stress, ie
it took10 weeks to get my Australian Federal Police clearance something which is supposed to
take 30 days.
All my papers were now with immigration and there is nothing further I can do apart from wait for
the day they tell me to leave the country while they make a decision. I am English and perfectly
capable of supporting myself for the rest of my life without working, so while make things so
awkward – who benefits?
THE END OR SO I THOUGHT
After now living in Perth for 3 ½ yrs I am at the end of the line. I am a freelance journalist and
have assets of 1 million dollars plus, I have part-time jobs here too. Both my children live here
and are Australian citizens, and both my grand children were born here. But despite being quite
capable of supporting myself, I own my own home here and have an income of more than
adequate, I am still encountering problems.
Once again I have to apply for a new visa despite being told this was a formality as I had
passed all criteria 2 yrs ago. I had to again obtain police clearance and get an Assurance of
Support, how ridiculous as I have considerable assets and will never need assistance from the
Australian Government. So my family are ‘means tested’ – did it not occur to immigration to
actually ‘means test’ me first. My son (who incidentally had to take a day of work) and I travel to
the city with all the information my immigration agent said I needed – oh no too simple. They
needed more information from the tax office and his passport, drivers licence and credit card
were considered not sufficient means of identification! So basically we wasted a whole day but
eventually managed to supply what was required. Three week later were told he was not
accepted as AoS by letter – no reason given. He then got a phone call a couple of days later
saying the reason was we had incorrectly completed a Profit and Loss statement, so we
amended this thinking now things would OK. No – again a call saying he didn’t actually have
enough income for the past two years. We were told by my immigration agent and also
according to information on-line from DIMA that an income of $40K gross was required. As my
son had declared $53 + $54 for the years 2005/2006 we thought this would be sufficient. Now it
appeared it wasn’t gross income but net income – a considerable difference. Now I am adding
my daughter and a friend – yes you can have up to three Aos’s. Funnily enough I have more
money than all three put together – so where is the common sense in means testing all my
family and a friend. This isn’t the end of it when all this is accepted I have (not I they) have to
lodge $10K to Centrelink in case I claim something I am not entitled to claim! Why are the staff
to stupid to regulate this? This really is a case of the inmates running the asylum – if it wasn’t so
serious it would be laughable.
I have my own property fully paid for an employ a cleaner, gardener, pool-man, handyman and
therefore contribute to the economy.