Stuck abroad: Vancouverite can't move home due to Australia's strict travel rules

Aug 5 2021, 5:23 pm

A young Vancouver woman who is currently residing in Australia wants to come back to Canada, but the Australian government does not permit travel of any sort, except in extraordinary circumstances.

Aliya Tarmo, born and raised in Vancouver, recently celebrated becoming a dual Canadian-Australian citizen, which, according to her, actually makes travel even more difficult.

Right now, a person can only fly out of the country if they’ve successfully applied for an exemption from the federal government on compassionate grounds, or other “compelling reasons.”

Australia introduced the restrictions when their COVID-19 cases surged last year. Permanent residents and citizens alike are essentially barred from leaving the country.

Tarmo has been living in Australia for the past seven years, but she now wants to move back home to Vancouver.

“After giving notice at her job and winding up things with her residence, she is now faced with such uncertainty, no job, and no place to stay. Her stresses become our stresses,” her father, Mo, told Daily Hive.

He’s asking people to sign a petition to force Australian officials to relax their rules and make exceptions for people like his daughter.

The situation has impacted Tarmo’s mental health greatly.

“I’m definitely struggling right now and the situation has taken its toll on my mental health,” Tarmo told Daily Hive.

“I haven’t seen my family since Jan 2020 and in that time I’ve lost a grandparent while another grandparent’s health is quickly deteriorating.”

“When I attempted to submit my travel exemption application the first time round, I was also told I didn’t meet the criteria for a sufficient amount of evidence.”

Tarmo’s good friend Taryn Smith is in a similar situation. She recently had a baby, her parents aren’t able to get into Australia, and she can’t get out based on the outbound criteria.

The petition currently has under 1,800 signatures out of 2,500, but meeting its goal doesn’t guarantee a trip home.

“I am hoping that I’ll be able to make the one-way flight that I’ve booked on October 12.”

Amir AliAmir Ali

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