Gran who has not left Australia since arriving in 1981 is being deported back to UK

Gran who has not left Australia since arriving in 1981 is being deported back to UK

Marry Ellis has been told she faces deportation back to the UK after 43 years in Australia (Picture: A Current Affair)

A British grandma who emigrated to Australia 43 years ago faces deportation after she was found to be there illegally.

Mary Ellis, 74, left London when she was 31 and started a new life for herself in New South Wales.

Her-then partner told her he had secured permanent visas for the pair, but she’s now been informed she’s been living in Australia illegally the whole time.

The shocked pensioner said she knows no one in the UK any longer and has a son and two grandchildren in Australia.

In Tweed Heads, where she lives, Mary is seen as a local hero for the time she spends volunteering and raising money for the Salvation Army, reports MailOnline.

Last year she was crowned ‘NSW Volunteer of the Year in 2023’ for her tireless work with Agape Outreach, which provides hot meals for the homeless.

‘This is my home, I love Australia,’ she said on TV show A Current Affair on Monday.

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Mary said ‘nobody said anything’ about her visa until she was contacted by the Home Affairs department.

She worked in hospitality and for the Australian government for 30 years and had never been asked about her visa status.

Migration agent Stanley Schneider said: ‘She knows not a soul over there [in the UK], not a soul.

‘She’s always paid her taxes, she hasn’t even had a speeding ticket, she’s never infringed anything, she’s never offended anyone.’

Mr Schneider, who is helping Mary pro bono, said she qualifies as an ‘absorbed person’ under Australia’s Migration Act 1958. 

To be an ‘absorbed person’ you have to have lived in the country since April 2, 1984, having never left, which Mary claims she hasn’t, not even for a holiday.

But Home Affairs says Mary entered Australia three times under different names and was not in the country between February 1983 and November 1986.

Mary with her NSW Volunteer of the Year Award 2023 (Picture: Instagram)

Mary on A Current Affair in Australia (Picture: A Current Affair)

It claims that the man she was in a relationship with at the time, Martin Ellis, was actually called Trevor Warren.

A letter from the department says: ‘As you were not in Australia on April 2, 1984, you are not considered an absorbed person and do not hold an Absorbed Persons Visa.’

But Mary disputes this and says she has no idea why Home Affairs believes she left and re-entered the country or used different aliases.

She says she has documents that prove she was in Australia between 1983 and 1986, among them a job reference from a restaurant in Tasmania where she worked as a waitress and a cleaner.

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Mary also has a letter from that time to say she has been enrolled with Medicare, Australia’s healthcare system.

Mr Schneider said: ‘Mary Ellis is a decent person, a person we should be absolutely thrilled to have in Australia, and she’s an Australian, let’s face it.’

In December an Italian grandma facing deportation after living in the UK for 42 years learned she can stay following a Home Office u-turn.

Leonarda Zarcone, 74, was told she had missed a deadline to provide information for her settled status application and was ordered to leave the country.

The stunned pensioner then discovered she had not seen an email from the Home Office asking for further proof she had lived in the UK for at least five years because it had gone to her junk folder.

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