It has cost David and Kate Jeffries roughly $50,000 since March in attempts to come home to Australia, including paying ongoing bills in Perth and funding accommodation in Canada.

Despite their many thwarted attempts to return, they remain stranded overseas with their young son Mitchell.

Almost 37,000 Australians have registered with DFAT as stranded overseas.Credit:Getty Images

"Living with the constant uncertainty of not knowing how or when we may be able to return home is exhausting," Mr Jeffries said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly committed to getting stranded Australians home by Christmas.

"I would hope that those looking to come home, that we'd be able to do that within months and I would hope that we can get as many people home, if not all of them, by Christmas," he said in September.

But in a hearing for the senate select committee for COVID-19 on Thursday, those who are still stranded and have been trying to get home since March said they feel abandoned by the government.

"Australia feels like the only country in the world with policies still in place … that are having the effect to deny their citizens the right to return to the country. And that is about as un-Australian as it gets," Mr Jeffries said.

Since the 18th of September, 14,000 people registered with DFAT have returned to Australia, but the number of people wanting to return has ballooned.

Currently, 36,875 Australians remain stranded overseas. Of those people, 8070 were considered vulnerable, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade deputy secretary Tony Sheehan told the hearing.

That number has doubled since August, when there were about 18,800 Australians wanting to return, he said.

India, the UK, Philippines,Thailand and South Africa are the top five countries with people wanting to return.

There is a limit of 5625 arrivals per week, which will rise to 6745 when Melbourne begins to take international arrivals again on December 7.

When senator Kristina Keneally asked whether all vulnerable Australians will be returned home by Christmas, as promised by the Prime Minister, Mr Sheehan said DFAT "will do everything we can".

"We will endeavour to get as many people as possible home in time for Christmas," he said.

However some of those people will be in quarantine over the holiday period, and many will not be home before December 25, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet deputy secretary Alison Frame said.

"There will be numbers of Australians still overseas after Christmas," she said.

The hearing continues.

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