Deported Poms

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They'd planned to start afresh in the land Down Under, but their dream of a new life soon turned into a nightmare.

We first met English couple Gerry Curl and Lyn Missen a year ago:

Right now in the UK, our State and Federal Governments are mounting another big promotional push for skilled migrants.

Thousands are being lured to migration expos like one held last year, where they're filled with promises of great jobs, fabulous lifestyle and cheap living costs: a sun burnt Shangri-la.

Among those hopeful new arrivals were Gerry and Lyn.

"We fought for two years to get here... financially put a lot into it. We left two decent jobs to come here," says Gerry.

"We left our home and family behind and all our family because this would be the future for us and it feels like home," says Lyn.

But after pulling up stumps and moving everything to Australia 18 months ago, they now have to begin all over again, back in the UK, where they started.

"This is Lyn's dream," says Gerry, "and it's really, really been shattered."

"It just has been a nightmare," says Lyn. "It's just been a constant battle and I don't think, really, that Immigration realises what they're doing to people. I don't think they've got the system right at all."

They first got into trouble when job after job offer fell through, jeopardising Gerry's visa application. They then decided to try under Lyn's name.

After a roller-coaster ride, they built their hopes up, only to be let down by a combination of employers who promised to hire them and bureaucratic red tape.

"We were told that it was 99.9% sure that we would get the sponsorship, and that was on a Friday, and on a Monday they just said no."

"I love the place," says Gerry. "I mean, the country's a beautiful country, the people are great. The government� Not so good, I'm afraid."

Migration consultant Dick Glazbrook says Gerry and Lyn are not alone. And he's not surprised by the way some would-be Aussies are treated.

"These people have come out with dreams, aspirations that have been shot down," he says.

"They've been victims of a system that not necessarily looks at the individual as being a human being, or a personal case, more often looked at as being a number."

It all comes as Treasurer Kevin Foley is in another part of the world, talking up South Australia as a destination for skilled migration.

For Gerry & Lyn, Australia is no longer the Lucky Country.

"[They say] 'oh we need you, we need you, come on over', even to Adelaide," says Gerry.
"It's not that easy. If you're one of the lucky ones, it's fine. But not everybody's lucky."

"Well, it was a new case officer at Immigration and because she looked at the paperwork and didn't talk to the immigration lawyer and discuss it, she had already turned the application down," says Lyn.

And the worst part is, even though the officer who made the wrong decision was reprimanded, the price for Gerry and Lyn is simply too high.

They estimate it's already cost them between $70,000 and $80,000, but it's cost them in other ways, too.

"I think mentally it's harmed us a great deal, and physically," says Lyn. "Although Gerry hasn't got a doctor, because we can't afford it, he actually is starting to have pains in the chest sometimes. And, it also has taken its toll on our relationship. We've been together 18 years and it's been very touch and go."

Dick Glazbrook says the Immigration Department should work more closely with agents like himself and the people the Government is trying to attract here.

"It's like a minefield," says Dick. "If they don't know what they're doing it is quite possible that they'll end up on the wrong side of the decision-making process."

Too late, though, for Gerry and Lyn.

"When we came to this country, we were full of hope," says Lyn. "I'm going back a whingeing Pom. Australia's done that."

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