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Bhajan Kaur has been living in Melbourne with her family ever since they moved from Singapore to Australia in 2008. But now, this close-knit family is faced with a real prospect of being torn apart because of Ms Kaur’s intellectual disability.
While all other members of her family are either Australian citizens or permanent residents, her application for permanent residency was turned down on the grounds that she will be a “significant health burden” to the Australian system.
Her sister-in-law Jasvinder Kaur told Fairfax Media that the decision was based on the opinion of a medical insurer who held that Bhajan would be a “cost to the community”.
She said the family is willing to take care of any medical costs arising due to Bhajan’s condition.
Her family has failed to get any reprieve from Assistant Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, as he declined to intervene in her case. The matter was referred to the minister after Migration Review Tribunal upheld the department’s decision to decline her visa application.
According to Immigration Department, people whose appeal for a ministerial intervention is unsuccessful have to leave the country.
Though Bhajan Kaur is physically well, but her intellectual disability means she needs her family’s support. Her situation has left the family to choose between sending her to an institution in Singapore, and her brother leaving his wife and children in Australia to go to Singapore with her.
Under Australia’s Migration Act, the department can decline visa applications on medical grounds if the applicant’s medical costs to the taxpayer is likely to cross $40,000.
Earlier this year, family of a Monash University lecturer was also declined permanent residency in Australia due to his son’s condition. However, Assistant Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke’s overturned the tribunal’s decision in August 2016 after a sustained campaign by Monash University students and staff.
Read the complete story on Fairfax.
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