An Indian citizen living in Melbourne's Sunshine, Deepak Singh committed suicide on Sunday.
Deepak arrived in Australia as an international student in 2008 from Amritsar, Punjab to pursue a diploma in community welfare. His aim was to settle down in Australia after finishing his course.
However, a change in Skilled Occupations List during his course time rendered him ineligible for permanent residency.
“During this time, he approached me. He also did an internship at the Tarneit Gurudwara, helping the homeless,” Jasvinder Sidhu told SBS Hindi.
Deepak was assured by education agent in India that studying in Australia would become an easy pathway to permanent residency in Australia.
“A few days ago, Deepak called me and requested to do something about the issue of those students stuck due to changes in immigration policy while they were studying here,” Sidhu says.
After finishing his studies, Singh got married to an Australian woman and was living on a temporary visa in Australia.
Singh had applied for permanent residency on the basis of being married to an Australian citizen but Sidhu points out that the Immigration Department denied him permanent residency and put his visa on hold.
“He was afraid that he would be deported. He was under acute stress as he thought after spending years in Australia, he couldn’t go back to India or continue to stay in Australia. Last time I met him, I could see the stress in his eyes. He was under a lot of pressure.”
“Today morning around 6am, I received a call from his friend that Deepak had committed suicide. I never imagined he would take his life,” Sidhu shares.
As a community leader, Sidhu has come across several such visa cases where desperation to gain Australia’s permanent residency has led people to take an illegal path to gain residency or to end their lives.
“It’s disheartening. Some education agents do not present an accurate picture. I only wish that students who come to Australia with an aim to settle down here, do their own homework instead of falling into traps later on,” Sidhu says.