strandedaussiesstories

  • 3907
Join us:
Added a post  to  , strandedaussiesstories

Currently we have been stuck in the USA one year now… I am Australian and my husband is American. originally we came to visit my husbands mum who is alone in Florida due to his dad passing away.

We have had canceled flights through Virgin and they refuse to give us a refund or flight credit….plus the boarder closures ..we are beyond upset. My mental and physical health has deteriorated significantly since being here… in the time we were stuck here I was forced to have my baby here as our flight was canceled… I now have $30,000 in medical bills because I did not have health insurance… a 6 month old baby and no primary health care provider to visit because I can NOT afford it here. We have exhausted all our finances and are struggling to supply formula for our child because my milk supply dried up due to unavailable health care and not being able to afford it. I have no idea how my body is now I have had my second baby.. that sounds weird to people who do not have universal health care but in Australia with my first child a nurse checked on me, I went for check ups, I went to my doc when I needed because I wasn’t feeling right or I went to get advice for feeding ect.
The only thing I could afford to do here was take my newborn to his first 3 pediatrician appointments… we also have a now 2 year old who has not seen a doctor in a year and we only just afforded her yearly vaccinations… we have been f’ed over by WellsFargo bank taking money for no reason, we have had our car destroyed on a property my husband was trying to go to TO WORK! He has also been fired from 4 jobs since being here because in Florida it’s a “right to work state” meaning they can fire you for no reason at all.. Just because they feel like it. He worked for a company called “saleshive” they fired him the week I was giving birth because they didn’t like that he was going to have 3 days off to help me… 3 DAYS! We have been struggling with everything ever since…

I am in desperate need of a puffer that I have to pay $45 for with a paid subscription on a app that lets me get at least that cheaper..originally it’s about $65-$80 apparently it fluctuates I don’t know why that is… that’s after I pay to see a doctor to get a prescription for one. I have now been 5 weeks without a puffer my basic human rights are not being met and not for my family either…

I don’t know what to do.. I can’t do this anymore.. My family passed away in Australia last year, I have no house to go back to, no job (I was a nurse), nothing. We just want to get back home to safety and be able to start our family from scratch and I want to visit my family’s grave sites….. 

I’m sorry for the long post, I have not been able to tell anyone my story. I feel so defeated and destroyed. I miss Australia so much it hurts.

Added a post  to  , strandedaussiesstories

After getting my flight cancelled from NYC to Sydney multiple times, I managed to got a spot in NZ MIQ and thought I could quarantine in NZ then head to Australia on a green flight. Mid-way through my quarantine, Australia shut its borders to NZ. I’m now stuck in NZ with no prospects of getting home any time soon. I’ve now missed the birth of my second child and my wife is stuck caring for a newborn and our 4 year old. I can’t put into words the stress and frustration my family has experienced. Australia has shown little care for its expats. Their government are divided and disorganised with ScoMo being compared to Trump in his handling of the crisis. Such a shame for such a beautiful country. I just want to get home and see my family. 

Added a post  to  , strandedaussiesstories

Disgusted doesn't even come close to my reaction🤬 Fortress Australia can keep avocado and artisan crackers and sink in the sea for all I care. https://traveldaily.com.au/news/border-shut-even-tighter/362806

Added a post  to  , strandedaussiesstories
Hi Everyone,
I am so sorry we've found ourselves in this situation. What a nightmare for so many families around the world. Who would have thought that our beloved Aus shutting us out would go on for so long, or cause so much pain and heartache.
I wanted to give a bit of perspective and also share my story and where myself and my finance are at. 
Why? I hope it can give others something to read and feel a bit more connected, but I am also hoping it gives me something to do and keep my mind occupied.
I'm an Australian citizen who has been living in London for the last 7 years. I'm lucky enough to have a Dutch fiancé, and during the first London Lockdown we made it over to the Netherlands to be with my fiancé's family. We're still in Amsterdam just a little under a year later.
I've had 3 sets of flights to Australia so far since March 2020.
- April 2020
- August 2020 
- September 2020
We have also gotten my partner an Aussie 309 Partner visa ($11,000 including legal fees) so that we can travel home. This visa has to be activated by March 2022 (I am aware you can get extensions in some circumstances, so will do all we can to do that if it comes to it).
All three of the flights above have been cancelled. Something I have been patient about because, well, I know how many people are stranded and how difficult this is for so many.
In September last year, when my final set was cancelled, I accepted that I wouldn't be home for Christmas and decided to try again in 2021, "when things calmed down".
This year, in April and once lockdowns started easing, I booked the first set of affordable flights I could which were after my vaccination estimate of August. I booked the flights for 5th October flying out of London, as I figured that had the highest chance of success due to the (at the time) low-rate of COVID and high-rate of vaccination. (How funny things change so quickly!)
As we get closer, and the flight caps close in on us, I have been told that it is very unlikely that we will make our flights on October 5th as they are economy through Qatar Airlines and are likely to be cancelled. These flights, at the time, were around £2000. This is about double (2x) the usual price, as we all know.
To be sure, a few weeks ago I purchased a second set of flights for September 14th 2021. This set are through Papua New Guinea and, again, leave through London. These tickets were around £5000, which is about 5x.
Now, we're being told that it is highly unlikely that either of these two sets of flights will be successful in taking us to Australia due to the fact they are, despite the prices, economy. 
Last night, we made the first withdrawal from the house deposit we've been saving for over a year for - and purchased two (fully-refundable) business class tickets from Frankfurt to Brisbane in mid October. These flights have cost us around $20,000 AUD, or €13,000. The costs of these flights is around 10x the flights of a usual trip home. These one tickets could cover the spend I'd usually make on tickets over the course of almost a decade!
Right now, it's not clear to us if, despite having almost $50,000 tied up in flights and visas, we will get home to Australia in time to see my family for the first time in three years.
Despite it all... to say this has been devastating to us, I think, would be overstating things. We're so lucky we'd been saving for a house, so we were able to use our savings. We're lucky to be employed full time, and I am so lucky to have a safe home in Amsterdam. My family are safe and well, and I know they aren't at risk of dying of COVID in Australia. However, I need to get home as some urgent family changes have occurred and I need to be there for the next 3-4 months.
We have registered our flights on the spreadsheet we are all eagerly watching, and I will update on how the three sets we have go. I presume Qatar will be cancelled imminently, and it is not clear if the PNG ones will go ahead (I spoke to the airline last night).
I hope that this isn't what you "have" to do to get home, but I have a very worrying feeling that this is genuinely one of the only ways to guarantee yourself a ticket home to Australia right now. I'll be sure to let everyone know if we make it back, and when.
P.S: I know how horrible it is to purchase multiple sets and "sit" on them - but knowing the caps are closing down again is giving us little option. I hope we can cancel our flights ASAP and return the potential seat to another deserving Aussie family. 
Thinking of you all.


Added a post  to  , strandedaussiesstories

Husband and wife Australians, in the U.S. with our Australian bred Great Danes...

A bit about our situation: My husband invested a substantial amount of time and money getting our E-2 visas and setting up a United States registered manufacturing business in Western Pennsylvania.

We relocated our entire lives including our 3 Great Danes, from Perth Western Australia, in November 2016.

Starting up a manufacturing business in a foreign country certainly has its hurdles and we suffered many set backs, but we were creating U.S. jobs, and slowly progressing towards our goals. Our perseverance was beginning to pay and 2019 was finally looking up. Exporting our manufactured goods to Australia was the backbone of our business, so when the bushfires ravaged Australia in September 2019 it meant we had to reign everything.

Just as the bushfires were ending, COVID broke out and our business was forced to close its doors on March 19, 2020. My husband has been out of work since, as he is not allowed to gain employment here due to his visa (E-2) being dependent on him 'creating U.S. jobs, not taking one'. Even though our business was solely United States registered and all revenue remained in the U.S., we were not eligible for any of the business assistance or rescue programs offered by the Government, due to my husband not being a U.S. citizen.

I had an Employment Authorization Card issued by USCIS which allowed me to gain employment, in line with my I-94 Authorized Stay date, so when COVID closed our business doors I successfully gained employment and had been working as an essential worker in the community since April 2020.

As time progressed we came to the realization that COVID had unfortunately closed the doors to our business for good, destroying jobs and ending our dreams here. We resided to the fact that we needed to return home to Australia, but with COVID, ongoing restrictions, no commercial Qantas flights with live cargo options, continued international traveler caps and costs to return being outrageous, we remained stranded here.

With COVID’s closures and border restrictions, we followed advice from our immigration attorney about extending our lawful stays until later in 2021 (when hopefully the Aussie airlines would fly again), as our visas were valid till October 2021. We were advised to cross into Canada, return to "re-enter" the U.S. and get new authorized stays stamped in our passports.

So we we packed up the Danes and drove to the Canada border on September 27, 2020.. where things went very badly for us.

At the U.S. border, our E-2 visas were cancelled ‘without prejudice’, due to an administration error in early 2019. Thankfully the wonderful Border Patrol officers found and granted us a ‘Waiver of Passport and/or Visa’, along with new I-94’s allowing us to re-enter and remain in the U.S. until September 26, 2022.

On our return we went and spoke with a new immigration attorney. Our options were bleak; return to Australia and apply for new visas or find a company to petition for my husband to work by applying for an I-140 and subsequent Green Card. Fortunately my Employment Authorization was still valid and not cancelled in the process.

In November 2020 I utilized the immigration attorney’s services to file my I-765 renewal (Employment Authorization Card), which was received by USCIS on December 4, 2020. At the time my application was sent, USCIS’s processing times were 3-5 months, by April 2021 processing times were 5-10 months and by July 2021 processing times were 5-12 months.

My Employment Authorization Card expired on April 6, 2021.. my employer put me on an ‘unpaid’ Leave of Absence effective April 5, 2021. From that date I was not allowed to work, therefore not able to earn an income and in turn made it extremely difficult for us to meet our monthly living expenses such as rent, utilities and food etc.

We are on the DFAT register as Australians trying to return home, however due to commitments here, we haven’t been able to book the short notice repatriation flights when offered. We have 2 Great Danes to organize and transport, we were renting a house up until recently and my husband has the business to finalize.

Due to no income, we had to pack everything up, vacated our rental property at the end of June 2021 and moved into shared accommodation with our 2 Great Danes.
Holding out hope that Qantas resumes flights, allowing live cargo to fly again and at a reasonable price and we can secure our own one way flights to Perth Western Australia, that won’t get cancelled on us.

On July 7, 2021, I received an email from my immigration attorney. By some miracle she advised that USCIS had approved my Employment Authorization Card, allowing me to return to work until September 26, 2022. So after 7 months of USCIS having received my renewal application; 3 months of which I was not allowed to work, I can finally go back to being a contributing member of the community and work for our survival.

This same day I received news that Qantas was finally doing a live cargo flight at the end of October 2021, but fortunately it is not a manageable amount, only coming in $1,063 USD less than via New Zealand.

Quotes to transport our 2 Great Danes back to their home country came in as follows: 

* Quoted $25,680 USD, prior to COVID grounding the Qantas fleet. 
* Re-quoted $37,313 USD, to transport them via New Zealand. 
* Recently advised of a live cargo flight with Qantas HOWEVER the quote came in at $36,250 USD. 

We created a GoFundMe page to help raise the funds for the Danes, we do not expect to raise the whole amount.
Having stayed ‘put’ to wait it out, as instructed by smarttraveller.gov.au, we have managed to raise the original quoted amount but struggle with any more. We fall short by about $12,000 USD.

The latest 50% reduction in traveler caps is certainly not going to make the situation any better. It hasn't for the cost and availability for our one-way airfares.

Please remove the caps!!
Allow the airlines to fly again.. to bring the prices back to reality, making them affordable, also increasing seat availability for Australians to return home.

Any advice, information or help with getting us and our Great Danes home is greatly appreciated please.

Kind regards,

Angela, Kyal, Nova🐾 & Angus🐾


Please Help

We need your help.

Free and Open Australia is a not for profit community organisation established to improve the ability for people to enter and exit Australia.

We have considerable costs in the form of legal, adminstrative, technical and so on.

Please lend a hand and donate to our GoFundMe Page so that we can continue our good work.

Dontate to our GoFundMe here

FreeAndOpenAustralia

Close