Australian expats are left jobless after coronavirus pandemic sparked a global lockdown forcing them to abandon their careers and return home
- Rebecca Taylor was living abroad in London when Australia called citizens home
- She quit her job and flew home within 24 hours with her fate now uncertain
- Vancouver-based Jonathan Bernardini was in Australia as Canada’s borders shut
- Mr Bernardini, who has a specialised job abroad, now fears unemployment
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Five days ago Rebecca Taylor was living her dream – she worked in London and travelled around Europe in her spare time.
Now, she’s among the scores of Australian expats who have had their lives uprooted in an instant and been left jobless by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday morning, the 23-year-old woke to the news that the federal government was calling for all Australians abroad to come home.
She immediately resigned from her job, packed up her life, and 24 hours later was en route home.
Rebecca Taylor (pictured), 23, was forced to leave her life in London behind earlier this week after the Australian government demanded its citizens return home
‘Most of my possessions are still in London. I could only bring back one suitcase,’ she said.
‘Because everyone was kind of in isolation before I left I didn’t even get to say goodbye to people.’
On the journey home passengers around her were wearing hazmat-like suits and goggles when she couldn’t even find a mask.
Unexpected temperature checks during her stop-over in Dubai had Ms Taylor worried she’d be detained there.
But after a ‘full-on’ three days, Ms Taylor landed in Sydney on Thursday night.
She’s daunted by the uncertainty ahead of her, and in isolation in the Blue Mountains.
‘I don’t know when I’m going to be able to work again, there’s no way of knowing when I’ll be able to go back to London, no way of knowing when I’ll get my stuff back.’
Vancouver-based Australian Jonathan Bernardini is in a similar position.
He was visiting Melbourne when Canada announced it would shut its borders.
Mr Bernardini is now unable to return to his medical research job at the University of British Colombia.
Foreigners have been left stranded as countries around the globe close their borders to curb the spread of coronavirus. Pictured is a line of travellers stuck at Sydney international on March 18, 2020
He’s applying to the Canadian government for an exemption but isn’t optimistic.
‘Everything that I’ve got established in Canada – like paying bills, renting my apartment – all of those commitments are still ongoing but I can’t work,’ Mr Bernardini said.
‘I’m pretty anxious about it. I’m holding out hope but it’s kind of scary to have your career and your livelihood in the hands of a foreign government.’
Given his specialised line of work, the 27-year-old fears he’ll find himself unemployed in Australia and will have to move back in with his parents – along with another sibling in the same position.
‘The worst-case scenario would be if the virus outbreak is not contained and I find myself in limbo.’