An Australian mother-to-be is "heartbroken" that her partner may miss the birth of their child as he remains stranded in New Zealand.
Gold Coast resident Disiane Zan, 34, is due to give birth in just over a month, but her Brazilian partner, Gabriel Seger, 35, who lives in Piha on a sponsorship visa, can't get to Australia due to Covid-19 border restrictions.
The pair, who became a couple last year before Zan fell pregnant in December, have applied for two exemptions, but both were denied as the Department of Home Affairs didn't consider Seger "immediate family" nor thought their reasons met compassionate grounds, Zan told the Herald.
The couple have known each other for a decade, and after losing touch for a few years they rekindled their friendship last year.
After travelling between countries, the pair became closer, eventually becoming a couple before Zan fell pregnant in New Zealand while they spent Christmas and New Year together.
As soon as she found out, Zan said she and Seger made plans to live in the Gold Coast together, but it all fell through when the pandemic hit.
In July, Zan's flatmate moved out so Seger could move in with his new family.
But when Seger, who has an Australian visitor's visa, applied for the compassionate grounds exemption, he was denied.
A few weeks later they applied for an immediate family exemption, as they are in a de facto relationship and registered their relationship under the Queensland law, however that was also declined.
Zan, who is originally from Brazil but is an Australian citizen, said she wasn't given any feedback on why they were declined and that they were not given any opportunities to have further discussions with the Department of Home Affairs.
"I think the Department of Home Affairs should really look into every case specifically," she said.
"I think it's very unfair and unkind. If he's not my immediate family then what is? He's my partner and the father of my child.
"Not even having a compassionate case, I can't say anything about that because that's just brutal."
Instead, she said she was told that they would have to wait until the borders open.
"It's so unpredictable at the moment ... Everything is always speculation, so really we don't know [when the borders will open].
"If he misses the birth, it's like, when is he able to get here?"
The mum-to-be said it's a "horrible" situation to be in and that she feels for her partner who just wants to be with his new family.
"He wants to be a father, he just doesn't want to be a dad," she said.
"He wants to be present during the baby's life, from the first minutes.
"We know how important it is to have that skin to skin contact, it's something that the baby takes for life. Even though the baby wouldn't consciously remember, it's an imprint."
Zan said her partner was more than happy to pay for the cost of hotel quarantine and would do anything to witness the birth of his son.
What makes things even harder for Zan is that she has no family with her in Australia.
"I'm relying on good friends which I'm very thankful for having them around," she said.
Zan said she's worried about having to raise her baby by herself but is planning to re-apply for an exemption next week.
According to the Department of Home Affairs' website, the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant people an exemption if they are seeking to travel for compassionate and compelling reasons.
"Compassionate and compelling reasons include, but are not limited to, needing to travel due to the death or critical illness of a close family member," it reads.
Meanwhile, to get an immediate family exemption, the couple have to provide evidence they are in a de facto relationship.
According to the website the proof should show that:
• you have a mutual commitment with your spouse or de facto partner to the exclusion of all others
• your relationship is genuine and continuing
• you either live together or don't live permanently apart
• you are not related by family
"Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community," Department of Home Affairs' website reads.
"All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel in the city of arrival."
The Herald has contacted the Department of Home Affairs for comment.