Representative imageHYDERABAD: Many individuals from Telangana, who are working in Australia but stranded here since March 20, are feeling the heat. With no salary and no means to earn, they are facing severe financial stress and finding it tough to manage their daytoday lives.
One such person is Mohammed, who came to Hyderabad after his father was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, who is stuck here since February. He has no money with him. Mohammed is a cab driver in Melbourne and working there for the last five years. “With Australia shutting the doors on travellers, I cannot go back. I have no money to pay even traffic fines.” He says his expenditure in Australia used to be around Rs 40,000 a month. “I have paid Rs 6 lakh towards my father’s surgery. Now, I facing severe financial stress.”
Sufia Khatun from Nalgonda was one of the thousands of temporary residents from Australia stranded in India. “My husband, two kids and I came to India for my sister-in-law’s marriage which got cancalled because of the pandemic. My daughters are home sick as they have never been in India this long.”
Khatun’s husband runs a gas station in San Remo near Phillip Island, Victoria, which is in losses because of their prolonged absence.
“Recently, I got a job offer. But, I am stuck here,” says Khatun. Her previous employer, Aameruddin Mohammed, made a petition to Australian immigration minister, urging the government to take back temporary residents.
Nikhil Babu Gottimukkula works in a supermarket and gas station in Sydney. “My employers are not paying me as I have run out of paid leaves. I have to pay my rent and insurance in Australia which comes to Rs 30,000 a month,” he said.
They say that while the US ban on non-immigrant workers entering the country has grabbed attention, their plight since March has gone unnoticed. Added to this was a recent controversial ad which urged dark-skinned (Indian or African) applicants not to apply. The ad has since been withdrawn, but not without increasing fears of job losses and stigma of being foreign travellers.