Matty & Hazel – United Kingdom

Hazel and I are not in Australia yet

Unfortunately we are going to be separated for an unknown amount of time due to visa restrictions in the UK and Australia. My UK Visa ends on September 14th and the UK government have stopped giving grace periods and extensions for Aussies with expired visas as it is approaching 6 months since the UK went into lockdown and they want tourists to go home so they can deal with there own people.

My flight is booked September 7th flying out of Manchester. Not surprisingly Australia has a far more heavy handed response to the current situation. Firstly they have put arrival caps in place restricting the number of Australian citizens that can return home, so they can effectively manage, quarantine and test all international arrivals before letting them into the country. This is monitored by the federal and local police and state health care workers.

But what these arrival caps have done, has made airlines desperate to keep their planes in the air and cover overheads, bump economy tickets off flights to sell as many businesses and first class tickets. Planes that are designed to carry 196 passengers have been capped at 30 passengers. So I may be bumped off my flight and not sure when I can get another one, meaning I may overstay my UK visa. If I manage to get my flight successfully on September 7th I will land in Sydney on the 10th and commence the mandatory 14 day quarantine in a hotel.

I have had a lot of questions about this, what it means is I am locked in a hotel room, I cannot leave the room, my food is delivered at certain times and I will be tested for Covid-19 during my stay. Even if the test is negative I still can't leave until I have been in for 14 days. This quarantine will cost me $3000 (£1638). After this I will fly straight to Brisbane and I am unsure what will happen because at the moment if you have done your quarantine in NSW you don't have to do it again in QLD and pay the $2800, but things seem to change quite rapidly so not sure what it will be like in a month.

Hazel will come to Australia when the borders open back up to non citizen's or if we can get a partner visa granted but that can take 6 months and they aren't granting any at this time. It's not good that Australia has closed it's doors to it's own citizens but opened up the doors to 350 international students because the universities need some cash, however I am glad that my friends and family in Australia are safe and life is returning to normal for them thanks to these heavy restrictions.

Hazel and I are both very upset by the situation and we feel very helpless but I wouldn't say it's put a stain on our relationship, if anything it's made us stronger and more in love as we enjoy each others company of these next few weeks.