Eleni Tsamouri and sons Kon and Panos Ziannas. Picture: Tony Gough
Eleni Tsamouri and sons Kon and Panos Ziannas. Picture: Tony Gough

Aussie single mum forced to homeschool Greek sons

A SPRINGVALE mother is pleading with the federal government to grant her two young sons residency so she can send them to school.

Single mum Eleni Tsamouri, an Australian citizen who moved from Greece with her two young sons last year, says schools in Melbourne's eastern suburbs won't accept her young boys unless she can find thousands of dollars for international student fees.

Kon, 12, and Panos, 8, been forced to miss the start of the school year because of lengthy delays to their visas processing.

Ms Tsamouri works in a Greek restaurant in Oakleigh to support her family, including caring for her elderly parents.

Kon, 12, and Panos, 8, can access a state school without paying thousands of dollars despite their mum Eleni being an Australian citizen. Picture: Tony Gough
Kon, 12, and Panos, 8, can access a state school without paying thousands of dollars despite their mum Eleni being an Australian citizen. Picture: Tony Gough

She applied for residency visas for the children, who were born in Greece and are not Australian citizens, in October last year.

The current waiting time for the visa to be processed by the Department of Home Affairs is between 10 to 12 months.

A family friend has been teaching them at home in a volunteer arrangement for the past few months to improve their English.

"I want my boys to go to school but, as a single mum, I cannot afford to pay $7000 per term for them to go to school. I am an Australian citizen, and so are my parents, but the immigration department has really not helped," she told the Herald Sun.

"It's important to give them a good education and already they have missed out too much."

The pair briefly attended primary school in Springvale last year before their mum was told she would have to pay an international students' fee because they were here on tourist visas.

Federal Labor MP Julian Hill says cuts to immigration services are hurting the community. Picture: Lawrence Pinder
Federal Labor MP Julian Hill says cuts to immigration services are hurting the community. Picture: Lawrence Pinder

 

She had hoped to send them to Wellington Secondary College and Springvale Primary School from this week.

Labor MP Julian Hill wrote to federal Immigration Minister David Coleman in early December asking for the case to be resolved in time for the school year on "compassionate grounds".

He said the Morrison Government had "cut thousands of staff from frontline services" which was having real impacts on families.

"Instead of fixing their mess, the Liberal Government is hellbent on privatising Australia's visa system, putting at risk thousands more jobs and public services," Mr Hill said.

Mr Coleman's office direction questions on the matter to the Department of Home Affairs.