Serial wife-beater refused visa by government, tribunal

Migrant women at risk of domestic violence. Source: Pixabay

An Indian citizen, who has served time in prison for family violence and related offences, has been refused a visa to stay in Australia.

Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) on Friday refused a bridging visa to an Indian citizen with a history of assaults on his wife.

An Indian citizen, known as D (name withheld due to legal reasons), arrived in Australia in March 2008 as a dependent on his wife’s student visa and in 2013, was granted a Regional Skilled (subclass 487) visa on the basis of his wife qualifying for that visa category.

In Australia, D has been convicted four times and has served time in prison for family violence and related offences. His first conviction was recorded in February 2010 when he punched his wife in the right eye in front of her parents and he was sent to prison after his wife suffered a broken collar bone in November 2015.

D’s visa was cancelled in January 2016 under Migrantion Act on the basis that his presence in Australia might be a risk to the safety of an individual or individuals.

Upon his release from prison, he was taken into immigration detention.

In a bid to continue living in Australia, he applied for a bridging visa in September 2016 but was refused as he did not meet the prescribed criteria for its grant.

Since then, he has applied for a protection visa which was refused by a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in March. D sought review in the Migration and Refugee Division (MRD) of AAT.

In April, he applied for an interim bridging visa to stay in Australia which was refused by DIBP in May. Following this, he lodged a review with the tribunal which held a hearing on 24th July.

Before this hearing was held, a member of the MRD affirmed the DIBP’s decision to refuse D’s application for a protection visa.

D gave written statements and documents and oral evidence before the tribunal with help from a Punjabi interpreter.

His wife and two former neighbours from Melbourne too gave evidence.

The tribunal heard that his wife and he spoke on phone daily and if he were released, she was happy to have him occasionally see his sons but would not allow him to pick them up from home.

They both spoke of the financial constraints that she and the children were facing and how much better off financially they would be if he could stay in Australia.

Whilst she did not wish to resume a marital relationship or live with her violent husband, she expressed the wish that the children could continue to interact with their father and stressed the importance of a father’s role.

The tribunal also heard the wife brought the drawings and pictures drawn by the kids to her husband when he was in prison. She had also considered taking them to visit their father in prison but he did not want the children to visit him in prison or the detention centre because he did not want them to see him in that environment.

While the tribunal accepted that it was in the best interests of the children to have their father with them in Australia, AAT member Regina Perton found that he did carry the risk of re-offending on the basis of history of ongoing domestic violence over several years despite court appearances, and weighed in favour of refusing the visa on character grounds.

In her ruling, she said, “The primary consideration regarding protection of the Australian community from criminal or other serious conduct, which weighs in favour of refusal of the visa, should be given greater weight given the nature of the conduct and the lengthy period over which the offences occurred.”

She added, “Whilst the rights of the children are very important, their mother should not have to fear or experience violence.”

The Tribunal concluded that the preferable decision in this case is that the application for the bridging visa be refused.

D has indicated that he will lodge an appeal in the Federal Court in relation to the refusal of the protection visa but has not done so as yet.

If you are suffering from family violence, seek help at LifeLine - 13 11 14 or 1800RESPECT - 1800 737 732.

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