Terminally ill 25 year-old Pakistani student, Hassan Asif, wanted his family by his side before he passed away from advanced skin cancer in Melbourne. A natural request one would think, however, apparently the decision-maker on his mother and brother’s visitor visa applications had other concerns. Despite knowing of Asif’s medical situation, the high commission decided that Asif’s family did not meet the ‘Genuine Temporary Entrant’ criteria of their visitor visa applications. The high commission found this as they believed Asif’s family did not have the intention to return home to Pakistan after visiting Asif. As a result, Asif’s mother and brother’s visitor visa applications were refused.
Overturned After Public Backlash
Australia’s Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, initially stood by the decision, stating that it could cost the Australian public millions if Asif’s family did not return home after their visit. However, after considerable public backlash, the Immigration Minister reversed his position and Asif’s family’s visitor visas were granted.
Following their visa grant, Asif’s family members arrived in Australian in December 2015 and were able to stay by Asif’s side until he passed away in January 2016. Asif had initially moved to Melbourne from Pakistan in 2014 before being diagnosed with terminal cancer in April 2015.
More Cases Like Hassan’s
Unfortunately harsh visa decisions like the above happen all too often and Asif’s story could easily have had a very different outcome. Currently, media pressure is mounting on the immigration minister to intervene in another case, that of Jaspal Singh whose father collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack upon arriving at Melbourne Airport in January 2016. Singh faces a dilemma as he is currently in Australia on a bridging visa which will not allow him to return to Australia if he escorts his father’s body and his distressed mother back to India for the funeral. However, Singh has a pregnant wife in Australia as well as an 11 month old baby who is suffering from kidney problems. If Singh chooses to return to India, his wife and baby will be left to fend for themselves indefinitely unless the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton intervenes.