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Families appeal to include parents as immediate family members for travel during COVID-19

Harjot Singh and his family Source: Supplied

A growing push is underway to include parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents as immediate family members for travel during the coronavirus pandemic. A petition has also been tabled in federal parliament last week by a member of the goverenment - giving hope to tens of thousands of migrant families.

Under the covid-19 travel ban, only the immediate family of an Australian citizen or permanent resident is allowed to enter the country. But parents aren't considered immediate family.

That's prompted heartache for tens of thousands of families across Australia and the world - including Simone Holmes who has been trying to get her widowed mother in Switzerland to Australia all year.

"You've got to look at the mental health and the emotional strain that this puts on us is incredible, we are just losing hope," she says. 

Harjot Singh is also at the breaking point. He wants to get his father from India to Australia now.

On this issue, Australia is an outlier; other countries such as Canada are allowing parents of citizens into the country during the pandemic.

They're among more than 11,000 people to sign a petition, which was presented to federal parliament this week by a member of the government - Liberal MP Celia Hammond.

"Parents are a key part of an emotional support system for many immigrants and their families.. on behalf of all signatories, I present this petition."  

Now with a member of its own party calling for change, the pressure on the government to act is growing.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have not replied to our request for comment.

Mr Dutton has up to 90 days to respond to the petition.

Click the audio icon on the photo above to listen to the full podcast in Punjabi.

That story by Catalina Florez for SBS News, produced by Preetinder Singh Grewal for SBS Punjabi.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at

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