Just how welcoming is Australia to genuine immigrants?
It seems trying to get here legally is a headache of paperwork, long delays and costly applications that have many tearing their hair out in frustration and for one family from the UK it's about to tear them apart.
Twenty five year old British born Ashley Cain applied for a remaining relative visa and joined his mum Lizzy, sister Molly and step dad Ted in Adelaide eighteen months ago. They already had permanent residency through the skilled visa program.
“I was really looking forward to coming, at least come over here and see how it is, see how they settled and make sure they’re all alright and yeah I’m absolutely loving it here it’s been the best thing I've ever done… From the start of the year I thought this is my life and I really tried to make it work, rather than just be like a long holiday, I thought this is my life so I started planning and doing things,” says Ashley.
But following his dream has turned sour, Ashley's now been told he isn't eligible for that visa and has been given his marching orders to leave the country.
“It’s a scary feeling because I haven’t got anything to go back home to, like absolutely nothing, what do you do?” asks Ashley.
Even so Immigration and Citizenship is sticking to the inflexible conditions of the visa which state there be no other close family living outside of Australia, regardless of the state of those relationships.
“He does have a brother in the UK and his biological dad is in the UK but he hasn't had any contact with his dad for years, I’ve been with my husband for 18yrs, so that's who Ashley calls dad and has brought him up, and I said but he does have his brother, we put it on the forms, we didn't lie,” says Lizzie.
I tried to do everything by the rules. I’ve never hid that I had a brother, I’ve never hid that I had a dad and tried to do everything that I could possibly do… (And pay for it?) And pay for it.
“They said that's ok, if you've got more family here than there, and his immediate family, his mum and (who) he calls dad and his sister’s here, that will be fine, so he paid the $3000, over $3000 dollars, and they said if he wasn't eligible for that visa he would get his money back,” said Lizzy.
But that didn't happen either, Lizzy says they relied on the advice given by Australia's migration bureau in the UK.
“We were just told that was for him to come out with us and then if he liked it and he wanted to stay then there would be other avenues and he would be able to apply for another visa when he was here,” says Lizzy.
“I’d like to have my future out here, I'd like to one day become an Australian citizen, that would be a great honour and yeah I’m working and I’m loving it, I’ve got a new skill in abseiling,” says Asley.
It's not a job for the feint hearted. Ashley is a window cleaner specialising in high rise buildings. His boss has written to the department saying he is a good employee and would be hard to replace but the job doesn't fit the skills criteria.
“He is working full time, paying taxes and he lives with us and we’ve said, even on the form I had to say that I would sponsor him so if he did lose his job, that's absolutely fine, he is not going to cost anything,” says Lizzy.
In the past year 185,000 places have been made available for immigrants. Of those 125,850 were for skilled people, while 58,600 were family places, or it can be fast tracked if you have a spare five million to invest however, Australia is also drowning in a record flood of boat arrivals.
Maybe you should send him to Indonesia then he can jump onto a boat and get here because that’s a very simple process.
“I did say that, I don’t think that went down very well,” says Lizzy.
No, what did they say?
“They just said had he, he would be returned as a refugee with nothing and I just pointed out he spent four and a half thousand dollars to get here, paid taxes for a year and he’s still being sent home with nothing but as I understand it if he was a refugee they would have paid his fare home,” says Lizzy.
Ashley has now forked out another fifteen hundred dollars to lodge an appeal, which he has been told is soon to fail. His only hope after that is if the Immigration Minister intervenes.
“What would you like the Government to do?
“I have to stay... yeah just allow me to keep this life that I’ve built for myself here,” says Ashley.