Sri Lankan immigrant in Australia wins deportation battle

A Sri Lankan immigrant who has been working in Kalgoorlie in Australia for nearly six years has won the right to live and work permanently in Western Australia (WA), after a Federal Minister intervened and prevented him being deported, the West Australian reported.

Electrician Edwin Asariyas, 60, was facing deportation after his application to stay permanently in Australia was rejected last month.

It left him unable to work in the country since May 12, having failed at three attempts to become a permanent resident.

At the end of his final bridging visa, he was set to be deported on Monday, and had to provide proof of his airline tickets to immigration authorities by 4pm Friday.

That was before he received word about 1pm that Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke had intervened and would grant his permanent residency, three years after the specialist electrical motor rewinder first applied.

Mr Asariyas works for Kalgoorlie’s Prestige Universal Mining Pumps, where he has worked since arriving in the Goldfields from New Zealand on a 457 Visa in 2011, sponsored by employers Sam and Andy Grigg.

He said he was thrilled to be able to remain with his Goldfields “family”.

“I’m very happy and great thanks for Andy and Sam — they did a big job. They were involved straight away,” Mr Asariyas said.

“As an employer, to me he (Andy) is more actually like family.

“So I’m very happy, very happy, because for another few years I can work for him.”

Mr Grigg said it would have been impossible to replace Mr Asariyas at the business.

“It would have been a massive effect on our business because we had chased Edwin for two years before we got him,” he said.

“Rewinders are just about impossible to get and Edwin has been a part of our business nearly six years now, so it would have drastically affected our business.

“I’d have 10 more of him — I don’t think Edwin’s had a sick day since he’s been with us.

“It’s the sort of thing that should be promoted, not deported.”

Federal O’Connor MP Rick Wilson and State One Nation Upper House MP Senator Peter Georgiou took up Mr Asariyas’ case and arranged a meeting with Mr Hawke.

“While I support jobs for locals first and foremost, I think this particular case was special being in a regional city and given the fact that Mr Asariyas had spent the past six years of his life in WA, I knew the Government needed to take a closer look,” Senator Georgiou said.

“I have spoken to Mr Asariyas and his employer and he is a man of high integrity and will be of invaluable service to the local community.”

Mr Asariyas’ wife and two other children still live in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but if he had been sent back, his daughter may not have been able to continue her studies.

Hi oldest daughter, 23-year-old Ann Quintas Asariyas, studies medical science at Edith Cowan University at a cost to Mr Asariyas of about $26,000 a year.

In Colombo, he estimates his average wage would have been just $2000 a month.

That came after spending about $20,000 fighting the battle in legal and administrative fees.

Having returned to Sri Lanka for a total of five months in the past six years, Mr Asariyas hopes to start the process of bringing the rest of his family to Australia after his youngest child finishes her exams in August.

“My plan is for my family to be accommodated in Perth,” he said.

“I will work here and maybe once a week, twice a week I will see them, that is better than once a year.”

Senator Georgiou intends to meet Mr Asariyas when he visits the Goldfields-Esperance region this month.

A spokesman for Mr Hawke confirmed he had intervened to grant Mr Asariyas the right to stay in WA, but could not comment any further due to privacy reasons. (Colombo Gazette)