Retirees want certainty

David Astin, Diane Fuller, Jean Laws and Pat Pillings do not want to return to England.
David Astin, Diane Fuller, Jean Laws and Pat Pillings do not want to return to England.

A group of Mandurah residents are terrified they will one day be sent back to a country that now �feels alien� to them if changes are not made to the Temporary Retirement Visa.

David Astin, Diane Fuller, Jean Laws and Pat Pillings have lived in Australia for a combined 55 years.

Mr Astin has been here the longest, calling Australia home for 20 years.

�The only company that considers us permanent residents are the ATO,� Mr Astin said.

�Politicians say what is happening to us is un-Australian but because we don�t have the vote, we are no use to them.�

Mr Astin lost his vote in England because he has lived in Australia too long and said he felt �stateless�.

Every person in the group takes part in hours of volunteer work.

Mrs Pillings and her husband have years of service medals for their work with FESA. Mrs Pillings also runs a local walking group and serves in various community associations.

�When we left, there was a pathway to citizenship,� she said.

Mrs Laws said going back to England would be �very hard�.

�We�d be rootless. Here we are stateless. We are neither here nor there,� she said.

�I couldn�t afford to go back because of the price of property.

�Local people think we are Australian, they take it for granted.�

Recently her husband had a health scare and because of their residency status the first thing the hospital did was ask for a $200 down payment.

She said she understood why, but it added to the stress of the situation.

When Mrs Fuller went back to the UK for the first time in 10 years, she experienced a �culture shock�.

�We seem to be a forgotten source of profit for the Australian government,� she said.

The group are independently wealthy and had to show an income of $52,000 a year or $800,000 in capital before they could migrate.

They pay overseas visitors health insurance of $6000 a year per couple.

The insurance they have is considered general insurance.

It is not covered by the health ombudsman, leaving it open to massive price increases.

They have to get permission from the foreign investment board before they buy property.

They must also build or buy brand new.

It costs $300 to renew their visa every four years and a Federal police clearance must be provided every time.

�The immigration department are threatening to deport a 93-year-old for forgetting to do her visa, they don�t remind you,� Mr Astin said.