Aussie Thai Couple who have lived in Phuket for 10 years separated by the virus. Brad Dalton was barred from the Thai repatriation flight from Sydney to Bangkok which flies on Sunday. Thai foreigner marriages and relationships, already challenged by immigration issues, are particularly vulnerable during this crisis.
A heartbroken Aussie married to a Thai woman for the last 10 years has pleaded with the Thai government to consider his ‘compassionate’ request to allow him to be repatriated from Sydney to Bangkok on the next flight back to Thailand.
An Australian who styles himself as an ‘animal-loving hippy travelling the world’ finds himself this weekend cut off in Sydney from his Thai wife after being told in the last few days that he is not eligible for repatriation to Thailand aboard Thai Airways flight TG 476 reserved exclusively for Thai nationals which takes off from Sydney on Sunday.
Brad Dalton, has been happily married to his wife Prim for the last 10 years. The pair had been living in Phuket until March 13th when Brad went on to Sydney ahead of his wife whose visa was being finalised by Australian authorities.
Growing community of Foreign Thai marriages and families who are at the mercy of government authorities on both sides of the relationship
Mr Dalton and his wife are part of a growing community of Foreigner Thai families and couples who live either in Thailand or in a foreign country.
This growing community is well used to being impacted by government decisions such as stricter immigration criteria in both Thailand and western countries where they are often a low political priority or even worse. However, they have become even more vulnerable during this crisis.
Many such relationships still maintain links in both countries or even a third country from pension payments to wider family connections and work arrangements.
Difficult to balance at the best of times, for some right now, such as Brad, it poses insurmountable obstacles.
Just as this crisis and its aftermath will challenge globalism, so too will it also impact such relationships.
One obvious example will be the availability and price of airfares even when international travel reopens.
Prim got nervous at the last minute about leaving Thailand just as the Covid 19 emergency broke out
Even though Prim had her plane ticket booked and visa approved, at the very last moment, she grew nervous as Thailand declared a state of emergency and the spectre of the coronavirus grew worldwide.
Brad, her husband, had even received special permission for her to enter Australia despite the fortuitous early ban imposed by Australian authorities which has led to that country avoiding the catastrophic consequences seen in Europe and other countries.
After this, all flights to Thailand were cut off by the Thai government on April 4th following a revolt by incoming passengers against quarantine measures at Suvarnabhumi Airport after one of the last incoming flights to Thailand arrived.
Brad’s interest was piqued when he heard about repatriation flights from Australia to Thailand
Then Brad’s interest was piqued when he heard about repatriation flights for Thai nationals from Sydney to Bangkok which flew out this weekend.
‘I want to return to Phuket to be with my wife and phoned the Royal Thai Consulate in Sydney but was told the repatriation flights are for Thai citizens,’ he bitterly complained this week from down under.
He is anxious to be with his wife and feels that he should be able to avail of the opportunity or the ‘right’ to fly back with Thai nationals repatriating.
Thai authorities, however, have stressed that priority must be given not only to Thai nationals but also the most ‘urgent’ cases as the flights are limited to 200 seats because of social distancing measures.
Thai spouses of Australian nationals allowed to fly to Australia from Thailand in reciprocal flights
Mr Dalton claims that Thai spouses who are married to Australian nationals have been allowed to avail of the flights from Thailand to Australia in the other direction.
His position is that this understanding and facility should be reciprocated between Thailand and Australia for spouses of Thai nationals.
He claims, at the very least, that his request to fly home to be with his wife in Thailand should be considered on compassionate grounds.
Willing to pay $1,290 for his ticket and quarantine for 14 days to see his wife again in Phuket
He also points out that he is willing to pay the $1,290 one way fee which he points out is five times the normal budget price to be with his wife at this critical and worrying time for everyone.
‘I am prepared to pay the price though it is five times the normal price of a budget ticket. I understand if I am granted permission to return I will be isolated for 2 weeks upon my return,’ he told the Thai Examiner this week.