A German expat who has lived in Australia for more than two years begs the government to let her come home after she was stranded abroad.
Katie Arenkova, 23, left for a vacation in Bali with a friend on March 11, but is now stuck abroad after the Australian government banned non-nationals and non-permanent residents from entering the country to fight the corona virus.
For the past two and a half years, she has studied, worked and rented a house in Perth with her French restaurant manager fiancé Thomas Petrillo, 27.
But Ms. Arenkova, who has a student visa, is now cut off from her life in Australia and faces an uncertain fate.
23-year-old Katie Arenkova has been locked up at her home in Australia after an entry ban was imposed while on a week-long vacation in Bali
“I’m devastated. I’ve never cried so much in my entire life, ”she told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday.
“Yesterday was so difficult. I have all my belongings in Australia, my fiancé, my support, a car, a job, a house, health care, everything.
“All these years I felt at home in Australia and I’m so sad that I can’t count myself as a resident by having everything I own in Perth.”
Days before flying home, the Australian government closed the border to non-residents.
Under the rules of the border closure, partners of permanent residents are allowed back in. But Ms. Arenkova’s fiancé is a temporary resident with a skills shortage visa.
She was desperately trying to rebook flights, but they all canceled hours before they were due to leave.
She has six refundable flights pending, but airlines currently only offer flight credits.
The Social Media and Marketing student met her fiancé Thomas Petrillo, 27, (pictured together) when she moved to Perth two and a half years ago
Her travel insurance has just expired, and she says her only option seems to be returning to Germany, but one-way flights have risen to $ 8,000 one way as demand for aviation around the world has stopped.
The German embassy in Australia said it couldn’t help. Germany’s repatriation efforts from Indonesia remain a low priority, potentially putting them in trouble for months.
The marketing student is now stuck in a Balinese hotel while the funds are shrinking, supported by her friends’ home and fiancé, whose company has taken a big hit.
She fears that her student visa will be canceled because she cannot go to school, which means she could be locked out of the country or permanently excluded.
Ms Arenkova said she wouldn’t have left Australia if she knew what was coming, but there were no warnings when she left.
Ms Arenkova calls on the Australian government to make an exception so that people who have settled their lives in the country can return home
She said she understands that the Australian government cannot allow everyone to enter Australia, but that special attention should be paid to those who have established their lives abroad.
“I know it’s a good rule not to let everyone in, but there should be exceptions for people who have lives there,” she said.
‘I fully understand that they cannot let every student traveler in, but I have a job, a lease house, a car and I study.
“Even if there was an authorization form that would show people that they have a life in Australia and that they could be let in.
“I ask with all my heart to please allow me to enter the country as a resident.
The federal government has said it will consider making exceptions to the closure of the border on compassionate grounds.