Imagine having your 8 year old child in another country, with days left to fly out to be with you, and then suddenly being told “Sorry, the borders are closed.” Now imagine applying for an exception on compassionate grounds with the Department of Foreign Affairs only to be denied because it doesn’t fit their criteria for compassionate grounds.
This is exactly what happened to one of our beloved teachers from Al Siraat College, Ms Londa James, an overseas teacher sponsored by Al Siraat College who teaches one in one of Al Sirat Foundation classes.
Her 8 year old daughter Paeton and husband Theo were granted a Visa earlier this year. They were scheduled to travel in Australia to be with Ms James in April.
Sadly since Australian borders were closed due to COVID-19, not only have Ms James’ family not been able to fly out to Australia but we’re now told she may not see her daughter for another year.
Sadly 8 year old Paeton is now experiencing medical concerns directly related to her being separated from her mother during this prolonged time.
Even with this knowledge, Department of Home Affairs have rejected the application to fly out Ms James’ daughter and husband to Australia.
The students have already experienced a disruption to learning as a result of the pandemic and have transitioned to and from online learning. Now that onsite learning has resumed the School is eager to maintain continuity of learning for all our students and minimise any further disruptions.
Ms James continuation in her role is particularly important since she is teaching 5 year old students in their first year of school.
Al Siraat College management, staff and students are eager to keep Ms Londa James on board. The College is prepared to support her in whatever way necessary to reunite this family.
This includes financial support to cover costs relating to Paeton and Theo travelling to Australia, their hotel accommodation and other incidental costs to meet the quarantine requirements on arrival.
The ABF Commissioner has been urged to reconsider his decision in declining Paeton and Theo James’ application to fly to Australia on compassionate grounds. They are no threat to Australia and their visas are approved.
Ms James has been an essential worker in Victoria through the pandemic and is a valued and respected member of our school community.
Support to reunite this young family torn apart by the the COVID-19 pandemic will be highly appreciated.
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