An Australian mother has been left to raise three young kids because the government didn’t believe her relationship with her Malaysian husband was real.
Brittany Burgess, 26, from Corowa in country NSW, was swept off her feet after meeting Mohd Wangkimshen through mutual friends while he was on a tourist visa in 2012.
The couple married and had kids, but Mr Wangkimshen now hasn’t seen their two sons in over 18 months, and still hasn’t met his newborn daughter following his 2014 deportation.
After falling in love and getting married in just three months, Ms Burgess and Mr Wangkimshen applied for a partner visa so he could stay in Australia; the start of five years of immigration woes for the family.
Ms Burgess told Daily Mail Australia that her husband’s bid for a partner visa was rejected in 2014 after the government deemed their relationship disingenuous.
Brittany Burgess, 26, has been left to raise her twin sons alone in country NSW after her husband Mohd Wangkimshen was deported back to Malaysia in 2014
Two years after applying for his visa, Mr Wangkimshen was rejected after the government deemed their relationship was disingenuous
‘We started a relationship and in his Islamic culture they get married pretty soon,’ she said.
‘They said we didn’t know each other long enough in the beginning to get married after two or three months.
‘(The Department of Immigration) were asking us about having children. I was only 21 at the time and so we weren’t planning to have kids yet.’
Ms Burgess said that her choice to not have joint bank accounts with her husband also fuelled the government’s skepticism.
But the couple refused to be torn apart, so they flew to Malaysia where Mr Wangkimshen was granted a temporary visa to return to Australia.
Mr Wangkimshen hasn’t seen their two sons in more than 18 months, and still hasn’t met his newborn daughter after he was deported in 2014
The couple and their twin sons briefly moved to Pakistan where Mr Wangkimshen had extended family
It was after they arrived home that Ms Burgess fell pregnant with twins.
The government allowed Mr Wangkimshen to stay in Australia for the birth due to the high risk nature of Ms Burgess’ pregnancy.
‘They would say we’ll give you two more weeks, one more month. That’s how it went for the whole pregnancy,’ she said.
Ms Burgess gave birth to twins Imran and Ibrahim six weeks prematurely in March 2017, with her husband by her side.
‘Muslim men don’t go into the labour ward and he was allowed to go in and change their nappies the first time. He was so proud,’ she said.
‘I had never seen Mohd cry until his sons were born.’
But due to the chaos in the wake of the twins’ birth, Mr Wangkimshen ended up overstaying his visa by a month.
He reported himself to immigration and was put in a detention centre in Melbourne for seven weeks in August, before being deported back to Malaysia for a second time.
Ms Burgess said it’s been heartbreaking spending the last nine months in Australia by herself while raising her two sons, who are now two-and-a-half, and her four-month-old daughter Hawa
Because he overstayed Mr Wangkimshen was banned from applying for a visa for two years.
Ms Burgess was left to juggle two infant sons by herself, all while travelling back and forth to visit her husband in the detention centre.
‘I was left with the twins on my own from when they were about three months old, I don’t know how I survived that time, it was all just a blur,’ Ms Burgess said.
While trying to fathom a life of raising two kids on her own, Ms Burgess started planning a move to Malaysia so her family could be together.
But after finding out this would require giving up her Australian citizenship, the young mother gave up on the idea.
‘There was no way I was giving up all my Australian rights, it’s better for us and for the kids to grow up in Australia,’ she said.
‘I was only willing to take them over to Malaysia for anywhere up to two to five years.
As a means to an end, the family relocated to Pakistan for nine months, where Mr Wangkimshen’s extended family lived.
While living in the Middle Eastern nation, Ms Burgess fell pregnant with a daughter at the end of last year.
But while six months pregnant, the expectant mother was forced to make the ‘traumatic’ decision to move back to Australia by herself to give birth.
‘I had to leave Pakistan just because the risk of mothers and children dying is a lot higher. I had heard so many horror stories,’ she said.
Ms Burgess has started a Change.org petition in the hopes of gaining support and boost morale in the plight to bring her husband back to Australia
‘I had to pretty much start from scratch again. I had to get a rental property, a car, and put the kids in day care once a week. I had to do it all over.’
Ms Burgess said it’s been heartbreaking spending the last nine months in Australia by herself while raising her two sons, who are now two-and-a-half, and her four-month-old daughter Hawa.
‘Imagine giving birth to a child and the father sees her for the first time through a video call,’ she said through tears.
‘The boys always say “Dada, come home”.’
Ms Burgess has started a Change.org petition in the hopes of gaining support and boost morale in the plight to bring her husband back to Australia.
‘I’m sick of getting rejected, I just want him back here,’ she said.
‘I’ve had a lot of people saying to move but I’ve tried everything. I tried to live in Malaysia and I couldn’t. I went to Pakistan and the kids can’t live there forever.
‘And my mum tears up straight away at the thought of not getting to see her grandchildren grow up.’
Mr Wangkimshen’s two-year visa ban recently ended, and the father now plans to either reapply for a partner visa or parent visa.
But the couple will need to fork out $6,500 application fee.
The Department of Home Affairs said it could not comment on individual cases.
As a result of overstaying his time in Australia, Mr Wangkimshen was banned from applying for a visa for two years