A South African family living in Canberra has been told to leave Australia after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton decided not to overturn a visa refusal.
Jacqui Ingram and her husband Clive have been living in Australia since 2011 and both are working for a local disability employment agency, LEAD Contracting.
Jacqui suffers from a chronic kidney condition and the Australian government believe her health costs are a burden on the Australian government and taxpayers. They calculated the expenses to be $600 000.
Their daughter, Caitlin, attends a Canberra high school while their son is in South Africa unable to live with his parents because his visa expired while he was overseas.
In a letter to the Ingrams, the Immigration Department said it had a ‘discretionary, non-compellable power’ to overturn its initial visa refusal.
“The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, has personally considered your case and has decided that it would not be in the public interest to intervene,” the letter from read.
The family has started a petition and will make a second request for ministerial intervention.
But they face an uphill legal battle against the Immigration Department, according to the Australian Lawyers Alliance.
“It’s a department that’s obstreperous when it comes to giving information, when it comes to compassion to individuals and yet again we see another example of its cruelty,” the alliance’s Greg Barns said.
“You’ve got a person who has lived most of their life in Australia, a family that’s made a substantial contribution to Australia and simply because of the bad luck of the person in having an illness, Australia decides we don’t want them.”