A BENDIGO family will be able to reunite with their young son, after the government admitted its initial assessment of their situation was "incorrect".
Sheethal Thomas and Juby Kalliyattu's application for a travel exemption to retrieve their son from India was rejected on April 2, even before the current travel ban.
The Department of Home Affairs contacted the couple on Thursday to admit its mistake, after the Bendigo Advertiser lodged an enquiry about the situation.
Ms Thomas and Mr Kalliyattu had been separated from their three-year-old son Dev for 18 months, after leaving him with grandparents during a family illness.
Ms Thomas said she was so excited to see her son, she couldn't even properly explain it.
"I'm just extremely happy, not just me, our parents, everyone is looking forward for this to happen," she said.
"All my family, Juby's family we are all excited and happy beyond words.
"I'm thankful for everyone who was involved in this ... everyone who is involved who made this possible."
By the time they were able to travel again, COVID-19 had shut down international borders, introducing quarantine costs and raising flight prices.
A Department of Home Affairs employee emailed the couple on Thursday afternoon, telling them its initial decision was incorrect.
Ms Thomas was told her travel exemption request would be approved when the government resumed travel to India. She was also offered help in exploring options for her son to travel with a grandparent on a government facilitated flight.
The government has indicated it will begin repatriation flights from India on May 15.
Ms Thomas has not been given an indication of when exactly she will be able to travel to India.
An Australian Border Force spokesperson said the department had offered assistance to the applicant.
They said outward travel exemptions were generally approved for Australian Citizens or permanent residents seeking to travel to collect their child from overseas.
They said quality assurance reviews of decisions were regularly undertaken to make sure decisions were made in accordance with exemption guidelines.
They said any error identified in travel exemption decision was immediately rectified and communicated to the applicant.
This story was updated at 6pm to include newly-received comment from the Australian Border Force.
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