Gran’s deportation order after 12-year visa wait
A 98 year-old woman is desperately fighting against being deported back to India after the Australian government decided that paying for a carer to tend to her for 15 hours a week was too expensive.
Esmeralda Rosario is now facing spending her 99th birthday alone with no family in Goa India after 12 years in Australia because the Home Affairs department refused her Aged Parent Visa application in November last year.
The mother of two and grandmother of four arrived in Australia in July 2007 on a tourist visa, and received an indefinite bridging visa in 2008 while her Aged Parent visa was being processed.
When Ms Rosario underwent a compulsory medical examination in 2018 to determine if she met the Public Interest Criterion of the Aged Parent visa, a Commonwealth medical officer found that the wheelchair-bound grandmother had 'severe functional impairment' and that her care would 'result in a significant cost to the Australian community.' Her family were notified in January 2019 that she had failed the medical examination, and paid $500 for a review of the results. Her visa was formally refused in November 2019.
An appeal hearing will take place this Tuesday before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where Mrs Rosario's 'heartbroken' family will fight desperately to allow their grandmother and mother to stay in Australia.
Son-in-law Godwin D'Silva said that the family were 'horrified' at the prospect of sending his wife's 'frail' mother back to her hometown of Goa in India, where she has no friends or relatives to take care of her.
"When she first arrived here we decided to apply for her Aged Parent visa because she was getting old and frail and we wanted to keep her here and care for her," Mr D'Silva said.
"She's lived here for 12 years, and my wife went through a lot of stress to apply on her behalf properly. We were in shock when they refused, the thought of her getting on a plane back to India for so many hours."
"There's no way she could do it, and there is no one there to look after her in India. We might have to look at nuns in a convent."
Ms Rosario is a recipient of a $50,990 home care package through the government's MyAgedCare program. Her daughter Marie Rita D'Silva said that $50,990 of annual funding gives the 98 year-old at-home care from a nurse three times a week in five hour blocks while her Australian family members earn a living.
"She's old and tired I'm just looking for little support, we just need a little extra help when we're at work," Mrs D'Silva said.
"Godwin works during the week and on weekends to provide for her. We do our best, we've worked from day one.
"I don't see my mum living for much longer, I just want her to be comfortable and at peace in her last years."
Immigration Solutions managing director and principal lawyer Anne O'Donoghue said that Ms Rosario's family would have little chance of the decision being reversed without ministerial intervention.
"Unfortunately there is no medical waiver for the Aged Parent visa, so if the criteria are not met but it will be refused," Ms O'Donoghue said.
"These visas are known to take quite some time, and people's circumstances do change. The best option the family has is to attend the hearing, acknowledge the waiver, explain the compassionate circumstances and ask the AAT Member to refer them for ministerial intervention."
"It does help in some circumstances if the tribunal recommends the case go to the minister."
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge told The Daily Telegraph he could 'fully understand' why Ms Rosario wanted to stay in Australia.
"The government deals with literally millions of applications each year which is why we have these processes in place," Minister Tudge said.
"Her application for permanent residency is currently before the AAT and depending on that outcome, there will be other options available to her including Ministerial Intervention."
If the appeal before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is unsuccessful, Ms Rosario will have 28 days to depart Australia or apply for ministerial intervention.
"My family came to Australia in 1999, we've never been without a job, we're all taxpayers," Mr D'Silva said.
"(Mrs Rosario) has done nothing wrong in this world. She's shown nothing but care and compassion throughout her life. She needs to be with us."
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton's office declined to comment when approached by The Daily Telegraph.