Immigration is hard, but when you're separated from loved ones for a long time it makes the jounrey even harder.
During the first few years of my life I was surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles and doting grandparents. I will never forget my birthday parties when my grandmother made cupcakes for me and my grandfather kept me entertained.
Ever since I immigrated to Australia my life has changed completely.
When I was in primary school they held a grandparents day. I remember always feeling awkward and left out as I didn't have any granparents to bring along. This experience helped me to realise why it is so important to have these close connections nearby.
Over the years, I have gained a stronger bond with close family-friends rather than extended family as I have been separated from them for lengthy periods of time. I write letters, cards and skype my family foten, although it just isn't the same.
When my grandpa passed away, I hadn't seen him in many years and I was unable to go to his funeral. This had a very big affect on me as he provided me with a sense of belonging and stability. Since my grandpa passed away, my grandma was left alone to support and live by herself. My family in Australia have tried for many years to support and help her migrate to Australia, but there are obvious barriers when you live on the other side of the world.
The huge issue for my grandma now is that an Australian visa is much too hard for her to claim and she only really has two options, which have their limits. One of the visas, which is called the 'parent visa' has a large waiting list which would take a minimum of 30 years to be accepted. As my grandma is 75 years old it is highly unlikely that she would be able to live this long. Even if she did, she would not be healthy enough to migrate.
Now left with one option my granmda could apply for the 'contibutory parent visa'. At the final stage of this process there is a significantly high application charge. The total cost of this visa can amount to over$47,000. And that's for somebody who is retired and not earning any income! Due to this cost my grandma would have to sell her house and everything she owns to have enough money.
Infornation received from an immigration law website claimed that even if my grandma was to get an aged parent visa she would not automatically recieve the age pension or social security payments in Australia. According to government, it will take two years for social security payments and atleast 10 years for age and disability pension payments to come through. This causes a huge fault in the government system as my grandma is old and her health is steadily decreasing, meaning she needs this funding and support the minute she arrives in Australia. She has also paid the high fee to get a visa into Australia and these benifits should be included in the cost.
Jessica Kinsella, a migrant integration policy lecturer from the Australian National University, stated that "migrant policies needed attention in order to promote social cohesion and help those already settled to have a fulfilling life."
She also stated that: "Australia needs to weight up the need of migrants to be with family against the burden some could place on the health system, along with the economic contribution, grandparents can make as a source of childcare."
If family is necessary, and an important part of someone's life, then why do we give the government the right to let immigration equal separation?