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​Lankan girl, refused visa due to Down syndrome-family

21 March 2015 12:03 pm - 31     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A Sri Lankan family who want to work in a Christian crisis centre in remote Australia say their daughter was refused a temporary visa because she has Down syndrome.

The Immigration Department issued a temporary work visa to eight-year-old Eliza Fonseka's parents, but not to the child, because she was considered to be a "significant cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care".

Eliza's father Angelo Fonseka said his daughter was in good health and not on medication, and the family had Australian private health insurance to cover any medical costs.

"We have given in writing that we will take responsibility for Eliza, she doesn't need any support from the government," Mr Fonseka said.

"In Sri Lanka we are not relying on any government benefits. As parents we are supplying everything. If we migrated to Australia we will do the same thing."

The family plans to move to Shark Bay, 800 kilometres north of Perth, to work at a Christian crisis centre that provides food, accommodation and support to people in need.

"We want to help them. My wife is a worship leader, she wants to be [on] the worship team in Shark Bay some day," Mr Fonseka said.

In a statement, the Department of Immigration said it could not discuss the specific details of the case, but said the visa assessment process was extensive.

"If an applicant has a significant medical condition, their medical reports are referred to a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC)," the statement said.

"A MOC is required by law to take into account the health care costs and community services likely to be required by a person with a condition of the same level and severity as the applicant.

"A person with a medical condition may fail to meet the health requirement if a MOC assesses their condition as likely to result in significant health care and community service costs to the Australian community or prejudice the access of Australians to such services during their stay in Australia."

The Immigration Department said health waiver provisions exist for certain subclasses of visas and the family could consider investigating that option.

The West Australian Premier Colin Barnett responded to the Fonseka's plea.

He wrote to them and said he had personally contacted Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and hoped they would be "successful in obtaining a favourable outcome".

'This is so hurtful, it is a harsh decision'

Mr Fonseka said the Immigration Department's decision to refuse his daughter's application was upsetting.

"I would say as parents this is so hurtful, it's a harsh decision," he said.

"She's an innocent child, an eight-year-old child and I believe whatever God created, no man has authority to destroy, reject or discriminate.

"She does swimming, dancing, everything and according to psychologist reports and even the doctors, school reports, everything is perfect.

"They have clearly said she doesn't need residential or institutional care. Only thing is we need to guide her and give her the best to improve her skills."

The family's sponsor Pastor Tim Hargreaves runs the Shark Bay Crisis Centre mostly by himself.

Mr Hargreaves, 77, said he badly needed the help of the Fonseka family.

"I'm pretty fit and able ... but it's hard yakka and I need a younger couple to give me a hand," Mr Hargreaves said.

"I'm appalled. It's heartless and I'm ashamed for my own Australian Government to be a party and identify with such a decision."

The Fonseka family are appealing the Immigration Department's decision to refuse Eliza's visa application.(ABC News)
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  • nalaka Sunday, 22 March 2015 12:32 PM

    International HR Groups over to you why silent is it because no money is involved with this ??

    Muheed Jeeran Saturday, 21 March 2015 08:32 PM

    Mr. Angelo Fonseka, please contact me as I more happy to help you on this issue cause I always stand for the rights of children with special needs. Thanks Muheed JeeranInternational Political Lobbyist

    ROSEMARIE Sunday, 22 March 2015 01:45 PM

    MAY ALMIGHTY GOD IS GREAT. HE DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU.KEEP IN TRUST.

    joe fernando Saturday, 21 March 2015 08:58 PM

    be aware those of us who want to go down under

    Lima Saturday, 21 March 2015 09:26 PM

    WHY THEY WANTED TO GO THERE IF THE VISA DENIED TO THEIR DAUGHTER DUE TO REASONS , I THINK THEY WANTED TO VANISH OVER THERE FOR LIFE , THIS IS SOME REASON TO WORK FOR A CHARITY , THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW

    Sagara Saturday, 21 March 2015 09:57 PM

    Very big rich country, not very big rich heart :( Insult for humanity.

    Dasun Saturday, 21 March 2015 11:16 PM

    So via DM Android App

    Fair N Square Saturday, 21 March 2015 11:31 PM

    This is NOT The first such case I know. A family from Mount Lavinia who are citizens of Australia are bringing up a girl almost 11 with the same medical condition they have another daughter who live with them in Aus, sadly the lil gal with the down syndrome is missing her parents love and the sisters too.... Australians have no heart. They do NOT know of family unity. isnt it heart breaking to leave behind such cute lil kids? God is who decided of how the children would be born. Not the parents...

    Wellwisher Sunday, 22 March 2015 12:41 AM

    Now migrating to another country is the last option for us as our politicians are ruining this country and making harder for us to live here....

    Pasel Sunday, 22 March 2015 02:52 AM

    If the AU gov refuse the visitors visa then the AU gov is wrong but this is temporary Visa then go have to go through medical and if you fail, visa will deny It is sad ,the parent have to make decision child or volunteer job

    amjath Friday, 27 March 2015 05:51 PM

    We sri lankans are fools. We also should charge heavy amount and refuse visa specially for poliical people.It happened to me wasted 7000 us$ for canada and time 8 months . Made me a dog by running here and there for documents. Damn .Even though all documnts were in order.

    Tony Sunday, 22 March 2015 04:31 AM

    There may be more to this story. Mt Hargreaves is 77 years old He may be wanting to retire. Then Fonseka can make a issue saying that She is the only person to replace Hargreaves, so that family can settle in Australia permanently. Or is it because the love of people in need or the Christianity? Immigration officials would have smelt some rat.

    Nick Thomas Sunday, 22 March 2015 05:51 AM

    In the name of Christianity there are many confident tricksters.They are migrating for economic reasons.!!!

    Nick Sunday, 22 March 2015 05:55 AM

    They are migrating for economic reasons hoodwinking a 77year old pastor in the name of christianity.

    Flamingo Sunday, 22 March 2015 05:56 AM

    Why do they want to help people in Australia when there are a far greater number of people needing help in Sri Lanka via DM Android App

    Nick Sunday, 22 March 2015 06:05 AM

    Worship leader? They were created by God to be in Srilanka

    truth Sunday, 22 March 2015 07:09 AM

    So you are saying, i have flight reservation i will return on time when applying for visa as most of the people do For visa purpose only. Once we ge the visa we will travel on a different day (most of the cases). Same applicable for travle insurance. Even embassies know well. When its come to work permits, australian gov has its policy on medical. Whether you rejected and say you have your private medical they need to think about your possible medical claims as you may claim anytime under possible ways. If you dont get, you will again turn on australian gov and say you are not getting proper care just because u r asian or sri lankan.

    robert Tuesday, 29 March 2016 05:16 PM

    their god has intervene and granted visa for this child. who is your God??there god is a living god he is the creator of the universe

    rodbet Saturday, 21 March 2015 05:46 PM

    Why not pray and get your God to intervenr

    Don Friday, 27 March 2015 09:55 AM

    There is no God. End of argument.

    Nimal Sunday, 22 March 2015 09:02 AM

    Australian immigration authority likes to eat money of poor people.For a small mistake also they will refuse the visa after the payment.Visa cost is not very less, cost is very very high, apart from that for assessment, ielts and many documents need to submit.A person who will spend around US $ 6000 for the entire process, and the visa get refused, how that person will feel????

    Nimal Sunday, 22 March 2015 09:03 AM

    Australian immigration authority likes to eat money of poor people.For a small mistake also they will refuse the visa after the payment.Visa cost is not very less, cost is very very high, apart from that for assessment, ielts and many documents need to submit.A person who will spend around US $ 6000 for the entire process, and the visa get refused, how that person will feel????

    shamon Sunday, 22 March 2015 09:08 AM

    Dont give up on your familys dream. Keep fighting good will help you.May God bless your family via DM Android App

    Sylvia Haik Saturday, 21 March 2015 06:05 PM

    The Fonsekas appear a decent couple and I admire them to want to work at a Christian crisis centre that provides food, accommodation and support to people in need. I hope their appeal succeeds and in the meantime I trust they will be giving their support to the local people in need.

    mack Sunday, 22 March 2015 10:42 AM

    I dont know why people try to migrate to that bloody country in the first place via DM Android App

    iemerald Saturday, 21 March 2015 06:17 PM

    THEY HAVE NO PROBLEM GIVING VISAS TO TERRORISTS WHO LATER BITE THEIR ASSES. SO DOES THE REST OF THE DO GOODY WEST AND THEN SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES LATER. LIKE THE PARIS OR LEE RIGBY INCIDENTS TO NAME 2.

    Cobra Saturday, 21 March 2015 06:29 PM

    If you want to get an Aussie visa you should have a history of terrorist activity; you will be welcomed with open arms!!!

    Cobra Sunday, 22 March 2015 11:19 AM

    Lima, you are just like the extension of the sick Aussie mind!!!!

    Phantom Sunday, 22 March 2015 11:25 AM

    If one has a history of terrorism he could get a no-hassle Aussie visa plus a PR!!!!!!!!!!

    Zscore Sunday, 22 March 2015 11:46 AM

    Lima dont talk nonsense. I know this family and the father came here to fight his daughters case because he cant do anything from there. And yes his God will intervene and his daughter will be granted vusa soon. via DM Android App

    jan Monday, 23 March 2015 09:45 AM

    Why would anyone think it rational that a caring family would want to travel to Australia to help the needy. There are many thousands are far more needy Sri Lankans. This is all a ruse to emigrate. Stay and work for the betterment of motherland I say. Specially if you have truly Christian virtues. Instead you all gather to blackguard Australia when it is this misguided family who are to be questioned .Australians pay insanely high taxes to support the thousands of so called migrants and refugees. Shame on all of us to demand a free ride . Stop bitching, start being positive, start supporting the development of Sri Lanka for once. Charity begins at home . This family has the wrong motives. Their so called plight should not even be published. .


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