Ministerial Intervention

Problem 

We were approached by a foreign national for a request for Ministerial Intervention, with an Australian visa history spanning more than 18 years.  

Facts 

Our client originally entered Australia in 1993 on a work permit which expired in 1994 and has not held a substantive visa since this date. He is well known and respected in the community both in Australia and in Lebanon, however in 1995 he applied for a Protection visa that was refused. 

He sought review in the Refugee Review Tribunal which subsequently affirmed the decision made by the Department of Immigration not to grant a protection visa.  In 2010, our client made an application for a Medical Treatment visa which again, was refused by the Department of Immigration, the Migration Review Tribunal and the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

We believed there were numerous humanitarian issues associated with this case and recommended that our client request Ministerial Intervention. 

We successfully argued –

  • Our client has spent 18 years in Australia and has refused to return to Lebanon under any circumstances. As a result, he has not seen his wife and children since initially entering Australia. Our client’s initial protection visa application was refused on the basis his claims were “implausible and farfetched,’’ however the fact that he has made every attempt to avoid returning to Lebanon over an 18 year period adds further weight to whether or not he genuinely held a well founded fear of persecution, which could have been established in the event the initial decision maker never reached the above conclusion.
  • Our client suffers from numerous heart conditions, that can be aggravated by the anxiety associated with living in an unstable region and potentially having no home to enter.
  • Our client is a well-integrated member of the Australian community, having obtained numerous references in support of his integrity and character.
  • Access to medical treatment in Lebanon, although readily available, will be costly. Our client is unlikely to obtain community support in Lebanon for treatment of his medical conditions as he has spent in excess of 18 years absent from the country. He is effectively a stranger to the community he once left behind.

Outcome 

More than 18 years of Australian visa struggles have come to an end. The Minister for Immigration intervened and substituted the prior refusals with a favourable decision. Our client is now a permanent resident of Australia.