A frustrated British couple, Glenn Tunnicliff (57) and his wife Sheena (50), who have been living in Australia for eight years, are facing deportation because they are considered “too old” to obtain permanent residency.
The couple, along with their two daughters Tamzin (21) and Molly (18) and their dog Roxy, relocated from East Sussex in the UK to Perth in 2015.
Despite their efforts, changes in visa regulations have prevented them from securing permanent residency, and they have now been ordered to leave the country within seven weeks.
After settling in Warwick, a northern suburb of Perth, the Tunnicliff family established their lives in Australia. Mr.
Tunnicliff found employment as a plasterer, while his wife opened her own travel franchise called Helloworld, which currently employs three individuals.
Their daughters have also embarked on their respective career paths, with Tamzin working as a nurse and Molly pursuing studies in Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
Unfortunately, the Tunnicliff family has received the news that they must depart from Australia by August 4. The reason behind this decision is the age limit set for obtaining permanent residency (PR), which is capped at 45 years, and serves as the pathway to citizenship.
‘We don’t want to go back to the UK – we’ve made a life here, ‘ Sheena told 9News.
Unfortunately, as the Tunnicliff family surpasses the age of 45, there is no available pathway to obtain permanent residency (PR) in Australia. Despite their valuable experience and training, Australia deems them “too old” for PR.
Currently, the entire family is dependent on Mr. Tunnicliff’s work visa, as he is in high demand as a plasterer throughout the country. However, the company that sponsors him is soon closing down, leaving them without a means to obtain a permanent visa.
Even if they were to find a new sponsor, Mrs. Tunnicliff explained that the age limit would still hinder their chances of obtaining PR. Over the years, the family has spent $80,000 (£63,200) on visas, sometimes receiving less-than-optimal advice from agents.
While Tamzin can remain in the country due to her chosen career path, Molly will be unable to qualify for a student visa based on her course of study, forcing her to leave.
Additionally, the family has concerns about their 14-year-old dog, Roxy, being able to accompany them on the return flight due to age restrictions.
Immigration law specialist Joanne Kinslor emphasized that the working lives and economic contributions of older skilled migrants are often given lower priority compared to younger migrants. While the community benefits from skilled migrants, it also faces the responsibility of providing Medicare and pensions to older individuals.
Kinslor pointed out that the age limit for skilled migrants is driven by the concern that the economic contributions and working lives of older migrants may be smaller compared to younger migrants. However, migration agent Mateja Rautner criticized the 45-year-old age limit, considering it unreasonable given the intense global competition for skilled migrants.
‘The Australian government is actively promoting Australia as the destination for skilled migrants and we are amid global competition for talent and yet we are limiting the options for skilled words over 45,’ Rautner told 9News.
A Department of Home Affairs spokesman stated that Immigration Minister Andrew Giles could not comment on specific cases due to privacy regulations. In February, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil acknowledged that Australia’s migration system is broken and requires a fundamental overhaul and radical simplification.