US tourist who got an apartment in Australia can't get visa approved: 'Ready to go'

Pictures of Karine speaking to the camera after she left Australia.
The young tourist thought her visa would be approved 'in 10 minutes'. But now she can't get back in. Source: TikTok

Australia has welcomed a record number of migrants in recent years, but one unlucky woman says she has been left stuck outside the country as her working-holiday visa won't get approved, leaving her in an awkward predicament after previously leasing an apartment Down Under.

Travel video blogger Karine, from the US state of Florida, travelled to Australia on a tourist visa and opened bank accounts and secured an apartment with the intention to return on a working visa. But she claims border authorities won't approve her – and she suspects it's due to an overzealous move she made while on the initial holiday.

"I went to Australia last January, I got three months on the tourist visa, I got an apartment, I got a bank account, I got all set up," she said in a video this week.

"I was ready to work, I was ready to go."

But that's when things took an unexpected turn.

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After returning to the US in April last year, she "immediately applied" for the work visa but says it's still pending, more than a year later.

"I don't know what's going on. I'm hearing different things from different people saying they stopped letting people in because they let too many people in... And now there's too much going on there," she said in the clip that has been watched more than 125,000 times.

Some Aussies questioned why she put her name on an apartment lease while on a tourist visa, suggesting it could've aroused suspicions of the authorities.

"But I feel that it's not that uncommon to set yourself up for life there [before] you come back on the work-holiday visa," she said.

While she's unsure why exactly she hasn't been approved for such a long time, the keen traveller is "crossing her fingers" she'll be allowed in by November.

Australia's migration intake continues to be a contentious political issue. The Labor government has long argued more workers are desperately needed while critics say the pressure on infrastructure and the housing market has become too much.

Responding to her video, many Aussies argued the apartment was simply a bad idea.

"You are just the type of person we need here. I admire how proactive you were but yep, it could have also been your downfall," one TikTok user wrote.

While many workers like Karine head Down Under on working holiday visas before seeking out sponsorship and permanent residency, the Australian government is tinkering with certain visa scheme and classifications of skilled workers.

In response to political pressure over high migration, a big crackdown on international students means that from Monday, July 1, those on temporary graduate, visitor, maritime crew and other visas will not be able to apply for a student visa while they are in Australia.

The change is aimed at clamping down on "visa hopping", which the department claims has contributed to a growing cohort of "permanently temporary" former international students in Australia.

After a record net overseas migration intake of 528,000 in 2022-23, Treasury is forecasting that figure will decline to 395,000 in 2023-24, before tapering off even further to 260,000 in the coming financial year.

The permanent migration program will be capped at 185,000 places in 2024-25, with 132,200 places allocated to the skill stream to “help address Australia’s long-term skill needs”.

A new National Innovation visa will be established to replace the current Global Talent visa from later this year, aimed at targeting “exceptionally talented migrants who would drive growth in sectors of national importance”.

The government will also reduce the work experience requirement for the temporary skill shortage visa, down from two years to one, for all applications from the end of this year.

The government has also introduced a new ballot process for the Work and Holiday visa program for China, Vietnam and India from the coming financial year, designed to better manage program demand.

with NCA Newswire

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