'It's like The Castle': Swedish-Aussie couple caught in citizenship crackdownJames Massola
Published: April 21 2017 - 4:28PM
She's 20 weeks' pregnant and her father is 15,000km away, battling cancer.
And now the future of a young couple is in limbo because of Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton's citizenship changes.
Nina and Perrin Wilkins, a Swede and an Aussie who married in Australia in 2013, say they've been carefully planning their lives together for seven years.
The university-educated professionals have long dreamed of Nina gaining her Australian citizenship.
She has spent more than three years on temporary and permanent partner visas. Australian citizenship beckoned in just 12 more months.
But now they are looking at a four-year wait, while Nina completes her permanent residence requirements under the new citizenship rules unveiled by Mr Turnbull and Mr Dutton on Thursday.
Nina and Perrin say the Turnbull government's announcement has up-ended their plan to move to Sweden in a few years time - after Nina gained her Australian citizenship - so their unborn child could grow up in both countries, and learn both languages from a young age.
The couple also recently learned that Nina's father's throat cancer has returned and he is facing a 20-week course of chemotherapy; adding urgency to their plans to temporarily move to Sweden.
"Now that my father has been diagnosed with cancer, it's more important than ever for us to have the opportunity to return Sweden for a period of time," Nina says.
"This is emotionally distressing for us, especially as we look forward to the birth of our child. With my father's ill health, it's not possible for us to stay in Australia for another three years. We don't know how much longer he's got and I want to be with my family throughout this time."
If they move to Sweden within the next four years, thousands of dollars in visa applications and hundreds of hours of paperwork will have been mostly wasted.
Fairfax Media has confirmed that couples on permanent partner (801) visas will now have to be permanent residents for four years, up from one, as will people on other types of visas, such as the new medium-term temporary work visa, under tough new citizenship rules unveiled this week.
"I want my father to get to know his grandchild, without compromising my ability to return to Australia," she says.
Perrin says the couple's plans were made with the current visa arrangements in mind. "The retrospective impact has shattered the foundation of the life we were building together. They have left us in a state of limbo.
"These changes aren't just about us. They affect thousands of Australians, their spouses, their families, and their futures. By applying these changes to current permanent residents, these reforms are manifestly unfair."
And their message to the government?
"It's like The Castle, the government can't just buy a person's house, they have to do it on just terms.
"Where are our just terms?"
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This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/its-like-the-castle-swedishaussie-couple-in-citizenship-crackdown-20170420-gvp8hl.html