04 April 2012

Filipino doctor wins Australia visa battle

A Filipino doctor and his family have been granted an Australia visa after a lengthy battle which will allow them to live and work in the country until 2016.

Australia visa

Dr Lapidario said all his patients were relieved he and his family would be staying in Australia.

Dr Edward Lapidario and his family's Australia visa application had been cast into doubt due to seven-year-old son Sean's autism and the extra burden the cost of medical treatment could place on the family.

However, after directors at Dr Lapidario's medical practice, Hackham Medical Centre agreed to cover the costs, estimated at AU$52,000 (£33,600), the Lapidario family were informed their 457 visa had been granted.

"I think we are very lucky, our prayers have been answered," said Dr Lapidario.

The Lapidario family had received an outpouring of support from the local community in Adelaide, with hundreds of people voicing their solidarity with the Lapidario's cause.

Dr Lapidario took the chance to thank everyone for their support, including their local MP but particularly Hackham’s directors and business manager.

"Without them, I don't know what we would do. All of my patients are really grateful."

Jim Fazzalari, Hackham's business manager, said: "It was a small price to pay for someone we know, and we know is well liked."

The Lapidario family's victory is the second of its kind in the family's fight to remain in Australia after winning a similar battle in 2010.

The current visa runs until 2016 and Dr Lapidario hopes his family will be able to gain permanent residency although the Australian immigration department refused to comment on individual cases.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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