Down Syndrome Visa Refusal: Immigration just doesn't get it

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130

Down Syndrome Visa Refusal: Immigration just doesn't get it

Media Release
Thursday October 30, 2008 2:00pm WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"The Immigration Department still doesn't get it, and it seems that certain officers still think that we're living under the Howard government, where we can commit serious errors of judgment and blatant forms of discrimination in visa assessment," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this afternoon, following media reports" (see below).

"It seems that Immigration Officers have forgotten that an Australian national, a man who arrived from Pakistan, set himself on fire in 2001 on the steps of Parliament, when his daughter, who also had a physical disability, was refused a visa, while he had been granted full protection. This was the most blatant and widely published example of the Immigration Department having lost its moral compass during the Howard years."

"The New Mugs and the new training and induction regime may have assisted in procedural accountability of the Department as an arm of the Australian Public Service, but it seems that changes in the Department have done nothing for its moral justice, apart from trying to refuse people entry into our country."

"The Department still doesn't know when it is totally appropriate to respond with a resounding "YES" to a visa application."

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

Concerns over visa for child with Down syndrome

Posted Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:17pm AEDT

A Victorian Nationals MP says the Department of Immigration may be acting unlawfully if it refuses a visa for a child with Down Syndrome.

German doctor, Bernhard Moeller and his family moved to Horsham two years ago in response to the rural doctor shortage.

He and his family have applied for permanent residence.

But Dr Moeller says he has been told his 13-year-old son's application will be refused, because of his disability.

The Department says it has not made any decision.

But the MP for Mallee, John Forrest, says the department's intentions are clear.

"The department's so embarrassed its not even prepared to put this refusal in writing because it knows its not lawful in Australia," he said.

"I believe it's completely unaustralian and we're gunning for them the whole community's going to stand up for Doctor Moeller and his family."

The lobby group Down Syndrome Victoria has called on the Government to review the case immediately.

CEO Catherine McAlpine says everyone will suffer if the family are refused visas.

"The family will suffer and the people fo Horsham will suffer by robbing them of a service they so desperately need," she said.

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