Olathe native living in Australia now stuck in US over a year as border remains closed

News

OLATHE, Kan. – Katie Morris is one of thousands of people unable to return home during the pandemic.

Originally from Olathe, Kansas, she’s lived in Sydney, Australia, since 2013 on a work visa.

Back in 2020, she returned to Kansas for a 10-day trip in order to help a family member and has been stuck in America ever since after Australia closed its borders.

“When it happened, you know, it was just so unexpected. I landed March 12, and I think everybody knows it all kind of went down. March 13 is when stuff really started shutting down,” Morris said. “It was just sheer bad luck for so many people who were out of the country.”

Morris, who works as a social media manager, said she’s still working remotely at her job in Australia, but the time change is wearing on her mental health.

Over the last year, she’s had to end her lease, sell all her furniture and leave her dog in the hands of a former neighbor. Her clothes and shoes are being kept in a storage unit.

“I’m separated from my life. I just have to think about it like, ‘I’m going back,’ because if I don’t, it just absolutely wrecks me,” Morris said. “If something doesn’t change soon and my Visa application has to be withdrawn, I can never go back.”

Morris said she has continuously reached out to local lawmakers and the Australian government with no success.

She applied for permanent residency in July to speed up the process. It’s an application that typically takes 3-6 months, but it’s already been 9 months for Morris.

“Nothing’s happened on my Visa. I don’t have a case officer. They haven’t asked me for more information. It hasn’t been looked at, at all based on the information I’ve been given,” Morris said. “It kind of feels like I slipped through the cracks.”

While her situation is stressful, Morris said she doesn’t regret this trip back home to be a successful stem cell donor for her aunt, who was battling cancer.

“She is 100% cancer free,” said Morris. “She’s 100% grafted now. So she has my cells. She’s changed to my blood type. She has my DNA. By no means, a wasted trip.”

Morris said she’s trying to be patient and hoping for the best, but her temporary Visa expires at the end of April.

You may have seen Morris on FOX4 before, during her free time in the U.S, she has gained a following for her TikTok account rating Chiefs players outfits.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Popular

Latest

More News