A man from Sri Lanka fighting for permanent residency in Australia has been told he and his wife will be deported within weeks, The Herald Sun reported.
Sri Lankan immigrant Eranda Ranasinghe Arachchige, 39, said his wife Lakmala Nissankage Harshani was still being treated for a mental illness in hospital and had no discharge date but he had been told by his Immigration Department case worker they both have to leave Australia by October 26.
Last week Greater Dandenong Leader told how the family had spent more than $25,000 in their fight for permanent residency and personally pleaded their case to the Immigration Minister when they paid $2000 to sit near the minister at a ‘Diwali With Peter Dutton’ dinner in Boronia last November.
Leader asked Minister Dutton’s office if the family would be deported if Ms Nissankage Harshani was still hospitalised on October 26, but they didn’t answer.
“The Department will continue to work with the family to resolve their immigration status,” a spokeswoman said.
Monash Health would not say if a patient still under hospital care could be forced to leave.
Mr Ranasinghe Arachchige, who has spent almost all of his money fighting to keep his family in Australia, said it was starting to sink in that he would have to go back to Sri Lanka.
“I was crying yesterday in front of (the case worker),” he said.
“I can’t start my life like this back there.”
He said he had worked hard to complete a diploma in hospitality in his job as manager at Braeside McDonalds and their lives were going smoothly until his wife fell ill.
Mr Ranasinghe Arachchige said he was desperate to remain in Australia “so my wife and I can continue to work and contribute to our community”.
He said he had completed one year of paid work experience in order to qualify for the skilled residence visa, subclass 885, and held an ongoing position so he could return to work when he was no longer a full-time carer for his wife and 16-month-old son, Makeyl, who was born in Australia.
“My migration agent presented me a new contract of $11,000 to appeal. I didn’t have this much money,” he said.
Immigration lawyer Cathrine Burnett-Wake from Harris Wake in Dandenong said visa costs could add up and “vulnerable people who are desperate for a migration outcome can be taken for a ride by unscrupulous migration agents”.
The Department of Immigration has refused to say why the family’s application had been rejected.
Father Brian Collins from St Anthony’s Parish, Noble Park, where the family attends mass, has organised a supporting letter from Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart to be sent to Mr Dutton.
A letter from doctors at Monash Health to the Department of Immigration said Ms Nissankage Harshani would become fully well again with the proper medical treatment. They said ongoing visa uncertainty was adding to her stress. (Colombo Gazette)