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Mental health effects of visa approval waiting time revealed

Satinder and Sumit were told the Department of Immigration didn't think their relationship was genuine Source: Supplied

The full mental health effects of Australia's immigration system on migrants waiting for their visa applications has been exposed in a new series. The documentary 'Who Gets to stay in Australia' launched this month, where couples have spoken out about the uncertain process.

When Satinder discovered her husband Sumit's visa was refused, she hit rock bottom. The Australian citizen had endured years of a long-distance relationship with her partner and the news came as a shock. 

During  filming of this documentary entitled, 'Who gets to stay in Australia,' she took an overdose declaring the department of Home Affairs should be held responsible. 

After years of living apart, the department had questioned whether her relationship with Sumit was real. 

Satinder says she made an irrational decision in the emotion of the moment and has since sought professional help for her mental health. 

She encourages others to do the same.

Experts say when people are not granted permanent residency, some must begin again and often they face financial hardship.

Partner visas currently cost $7,715 with 90 per cent of offshore applications processed within 18 months.

More than 25,000 applications for permanent residency are refused each year.

In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs says visa applications “are generally processed in the order in which they are received and processing times vary according to individual circumstances as well as the complexity of the application, for example in relation to assessments of identity, health, character, and national security.”

The Health department says the government is helping mental health providers support culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including migrants.

Listeners needing support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467

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If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

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