A German expat who has lived in Australia for more than two years is begging the government to let her come home after she was left stranded overseas.
Katie Arenkova, 23, left for a Bali holiday on March 11 with a friend but is now stuck abroad after the Australian government banned non-citizens and non-permanent residents from entering the country to combat coronavirus.
For the past two and a half years, she has studied, worked and rented a home in Perth with her French restaurant-manager fiancé Thomas Petrillo, 27.
But Ms Arenkova, who is on a student visa, now finds herself shut off from her life in Australia and facing an uncertain fate.
Katie Arenkova, 23, has been locked out of her home in Australia after entry bans were put in place while she was on a week-long holiday in Bali
‘I’m devastated. I’ve never cried so much in my life,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday.
‘Yesterday was so hard. I have all of my belongings in Australia, my fiancee, my support, a car, a job, a house, health care, everything.
‘All these years, I have felt at home in Australia and I am so sad, that I can’t count myself as a resident by having everything I own in Perth.’
Days before she was due to fly home the Australian government shut the border to non-residents.
The rules of the border closure say partners of permanent residents are allowed back in. But Ms Arenkova’s fiancé is temporary resident on a skills shortage visa.
She desperately tried to re-book flights, but they all cancelled hours before they were due to depart.
She has six flights with pending refunds, but airlines are only offering flight credits at this time.
The Social Media and Marketing student met her fiancée 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 return to Germany, but one-way flights have soared to $8,000 one-way as aviation demand across the world has halted.
The German embassy in Australia said it can not help. Germany’s repatriation efforts from Indonesia remain a low priority, leaving her potentially in limbo for months.
The marketing student is now holed up in a Balinese hotel as funds dwindle, being supported by her friends back home, and fiancée, whose business has taken a major hit.
She fears her student visa will be cancelled as she can not attend school, which will means she could be locked out of the country or permanently banned.
Ms Arenkova said she would not have left Australia if she knew what was to come, but there were no warnings in place when she departed.
Ms Arenkova is calling on the Australian government to make exception to allow people who have their lives set up in the country to be able to return home
She said she understands the Australian government can not let everyone into Australia but special consideration should be given to those who have their lives set up in a foreign country.
‘I know it is a good rule to not everyone in, but there has to be exceptions for people who have a life there,’ she said.
‘I understand completely that they can’t let in every student traveller, but I have a job, a house lease, a car, and I’m studying.
‘Even if there was an authorisation form that people could use to prove that they have a life in Australia and could be let in.
‘I am asking with all my heart, to please give me authorization to enter the country as a resident.
The federal government has said it will consider making exemptions to the border closure on compassionate grounds.