Queensland siblings fight deportation to Korea

A Gold Coast family desperate to stave off deportation to South Korea after 10 years in Australia has accumulated 27,000 signatures in their support.

Amy and Phillip Choi

Amy and Phillip Choi who have started a petition calling on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to allow them and their parents to stay in Australia. Source: Change.org

A pair of Gold Coast siblings are "soul-crushed" after being told they will be deported to South Korea despite living in Australia for most of their lives.

More than 27,000 people have to keep Phillip and Amy Choi, 21 and 19, in Australia ahead of a looming November 2 departure date.

They are fighting alongside their parents, Leo and Joanne, to retain residency but it appears a losing battle with the Immigration Depatment.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday said the Chois had failed to make best use of an opportunity to apply to legally remain in the country.

She said the department had presented the chance for the family to apply for student and other visa types when they were granted a six-month stay in the country last year, which included working rights.

"It was open to the family, while those visas remained valid, to apply for further visas on their own merits," she said.

"They did not do so."

The Chois' battle is the culmination of six years of negotiations with immigration officials.

"I don't know the South Korean culture," Phillip said.

"I don't have any friends there. There is nothing we can go back to."

Phillip arrived with his family as a baby in 1995, while Amy was born on the Gold Coast in 1997.

The family returned to South Korea between 1998 and 2005 before returning on a business visa.

They were denied formal residency in 2010 but have since lived on visitor and bridging visas while continuing to undergo numerous checks and procedures.

But when their case was knocked back at an Administrative Appeals Tribunal review this month, they were given four weeks to leave the country.

"This sudden change of decision has left our family absolutely soul-crushed," they told supporters.

"It is nothing more than a slow, tormenting walk towards an inevitable doom - separation of our family, goodbyes to my dearest friends and deportation from the country I proudly call home."

About 27,900 people had signed the petition on change.org by Thursday afternoon.

2 min read
Published 13 October 2016 at 6:10pm
Source: AAP