Everybody knows that traveling overseas and taking a year out is a fun and thrilling way of seeing the world, expanding your horizons and enjoying personal growth as well as enjoying the journeys of others. There is no doubt that along the way relationships are formed and many unique memories are made. Everybody also knows that when it comes time to go home not everybody does and they chose to remain in one of the countries they have come across on their travels and often there is a lot of red tape to cut through in order to make that happen.
Every country has some kind of visa regulations and making a home in any country that was not your original home is not always easy. One resident of Koh Samui is having more than his fair share of visa problems but not in order to stay in Thailand, in order to leave Thailand and move to Australia, the home of his daughter, who he is unable to join, or support thanks to the Australian immigration laws.
Steve Bateman was with his Australian ex girlfriend for just over two years. The couple met in February 2011 while they were travelling through the Philippines and fourteen months later decided to start a family and their daughter Kaya was conceived during a holiday in Thailand during the Songkran festival in April 2011. The couple moved to Australia, but just as Steve was about to put is defacto/partner application in, when his daughter Kaya was only four months old, his girlfriend inexplicably ended the relationship.
Steve then looked into getting a parent visa and found that the only parent’s visa options available were the 103 parent visa that is designed for older parents whose kids are grown up and takes an unbelievable twelve years to process and a contributory visa that only takes a year to process but costs $44,000 either option would require Steve to be sponsored by his daughter or his ex partner, his daughter is too young and his partner is unable to sponsor him.
Another option would be a skilled migrant visa that is for people who want to study a trade for a few years and then gain entry to Australia under its points based system. Sadly for Steve he is too old for this option and does not have the required qualifications for the relevant trades, despite running his own retail business for the last twenty years. When he approached a migrant agency he was told that due to his age and lack of trade experience this option was a waste of time.
The only other option that Steve can think of is to get sponsored on a 457 visa (company sponsorship) but he can only do that for jobs that Australians cannot do. He has travelled for seven months of the year for the last twenty five years and he is exploring this option with travel companies in Sydney but it is a long shot as he does not have any formal travel agency experience just a pile of stamp filled passports from his travels around the world.
Steve, and everybody he has spoken to in regards to this matter, understandably finds it inconceivable for a government not to allow him to live and work in Sydney to support his child, that is all he wants to do and could get a job tomorrow if he was given the chance.
The only real option that he seems to have open to him now in order to secure residency of Australia where he can support his daughter and be part of her life, is to meet another girl from Australia and marry her. He finds that plan an insane step to have to take in order to take on the role of parent that should be his intrinsic right in the first place.
In a day and age where so many parents split up and one partner disappears never to be seen again it is heartwarming to come across a man that is desperate to do the right thing and it is heart breaking that in this instance the red tape is preventing him. When so much money is spent by the Australian authorities tracking down errant fathers in an attempt to get them to face their responsibility for their children, it seems ludicrous that when they have one literally banging their door down to do the right thing they refuse! Rules are rules but in some cases exceptions clearly should be made.
A petition has been made to try to highlight Steve plight and he hopes that everybody that reads this article will please share it and pass it on, in a hope that someday in the not too distant future it will land on the lap of somebody that can help him not only reunite with his daughter but give him the opportunity he deserves to be part of her life, love her, support her and ensure she is not denied her father’s love that she not only needs and deserves but is entitled to.
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