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Tribunal cancels student visa of Indian man who failed to enrol due to depression

Source: SBS

The Indian international student told the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia he was feeling depressed after his breakup with his girlfriend and it led to serious problems due to which he failed to enrol in his registered course.

An Indian international student, who has spent ten years in Australia on a student visa, has had his latest student visa cancelled after he breached his visa conditions.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia (AAT) has upheld Department of Home Affairs’ decision to cancel the Indian citizen’s student visa who failed to undertake his course for nine months for which he was granted the Subclass 500 (Student) visa.

RA* first arrived in Australia on a student visa a decade ago, in April 2009 and has been on student and associated bridging visas since then.

He told the Tribunal his intention was to study and obtain skills in Australia in order to open a hotel business in Punjab, India.

RA was granted student visa in December 2016 after he enrolled in a registered course in November 2016. But his confirmation of enrolment (COE) was cancelled in March 2017.

He did not enrol in a full-time registered course of study from that date until his visa was cancelled in January 2018.

The Department cancelled RA’s student visa as he had breached condition 8202 which the visa holder to adhere to certain course enrolment, attendance and academic progress requirements.

‘Mental Health problems interrupted studies’

At the tribunal hearing, RA shared his flawless study history over eight years where he had commenced and completed all his courses.

He said in late 2016, he started suffering from anxiety, depression and a [medical condition] following a breakup with his girlfriend.

He told the tribunal he began drinking heavily as he was feeling depressed and it led to serious problems for which he has been receiving treatment since July 2018.

However, RA failed to provide proof of his breakup with his girlfriend when tribunal requested he provides some corroborating evidence.

RA though showed medical documents which showed he had been receiving treatment for his mental health problems.

The tribunal found he had only seen a psychologist once and had not sought any counselling.

RA indicated he took medication only for the first half of 2017 and did not need any more antidepressants after he met his new girlfriend in the middle of 2017.

RA said he sought deferral of his course but was told he could not defer his course. He did not provide medical documentation to the university when he approached them for a deferral.

RA said he did not want to return to India as he had not mentioned his difficulties to his parents and if his visa was cancelled, he would continue with his studies in India but it would not be as good as an Australian qualification.

‘Extensively breached visa condition’

The Tribunal accepted RA had emotional turmoil and mental health problems but said he was well enough to have re-engaged with study from mid-2017 when he met his new girlfriend and ceased taking his anti-depressant medication.

The Tribunal noted that RA had complied with all previous student visa conditions but the breach of the condition for his 2016 student visa was extensive.

The tribunal found the applicant who had a girlfriend now had formed strong ties to Australia and that ‘his incentive to remain onshore may be motivated by factors other than study’.

In the end, the tribunal affirmed the department’s decision to cancel RA’s student visa.

*Name withheld to protect the identity

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