A Nukutere College teacher stranded in Australia has been forced to resign her job.
Cassidy Jackson-Carroll said she had gone “above and beyond” in her endeavour to return to Rarotonga, but after trying everything she has been left with no other choice but to remain in Queensland, Australia.
The Nukutere College community has also tried to help bring her back.
Jackson-Carroll was booked to fly from Brisbane on June 18, do her 14 days quarantine in New Zealand, then fly onto Rarotonga.
But at the Brisbane Airport, despite Australia Border Force allowing her to leave and Cook Islands acknowledging she would be arriving, Immigration New Zealand wouldn’t allow Jackson-Carroll to fly.
That day, June 18, Immigration New Zealand changed the restrictions as previously stated on their website.
“Australian citizens were originally allowed to enter New Zealand,” she said. “I applied for permission to travel to New Zealand. Denied. I applied a few times, continually denied.”
She found herself caught up in a tangle of confusion and miscommunications between the governments and immigration departments of the three different countries.
Cook Islands Immigration and the Government told Jackson-Carroll they couldn’t offer assistance through communicating with Immigration New Zealand on the issue of Cook Islands work permit holders, outside of New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand also got in touch with Jackson-Carroll through verbal communication and said they were not aware that Cook Islands was mandating 30 days in New Zealand before being allowed to enter Rarotonga.
“Nor had Cook Islands Immigration informed Immigration New Zealand that transit was ‘not allowed’ in the airport when traveling on to Rarotonga,” she said.
“Therefore, technically Immigration New Zealand would have allowed me to travel all the way to Rarotonga.”
She wrote to the Cook Islands Government again letting them know about this loophole.
Asking for an exemption in order to travel, she stated she would self-isolate for 14 days upon her arrival and take any other precautions necessary.
“I was told I would not be allowed to travel this way. So as much as I have tried extensively, there is currently no way for my return to the Cook Islands,” she said.
Jackson-Carroll is bitterly disappointed that she has had to resign from her teaching position.
“The Nukutere College community has been so understanding of my situation and has also being trying extensively to bring me back, especially Eddie Drollet.
“This now leaves the school without a teacher. I am upset to leave my students in such a predicament and will miss teaching them,” she said.
“This was also not the way I wanted to have to leave the Cook Islands and can only hope to return and continue teaching next year.”