24 April 2006

Eyebrows raised as British woman deemed 'too thin' for immigration to Australia

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London's weekend Telegraph newspaper is reporting that a British woman has been told she is too thin to become an Australian citizen.

Helen Evans, who weighs 6st 11lb and is 5ft 3in tall, faced deportation after failing a health check because her weight was low.

However, a tribunal overturned the ruling and she has now been told she can stay in Australia pending a decision on her application for permanent residence.

Mrs. Evans, 23, has spent three years fighting for the right to stay in Springfield, Brisbane, with her Australian husband, Steve, and their young son.

She ran into problems during a routine health test.

'Part of the immigration process includes health checks,' said Oonagh Baerveldt, spokeswoman for Visa Bureau. 'Checks are done prior to skilled migration and form a part of the Department of Immigration's application. The Australian government is careful to screen potential migrants to ensure they aren't over-burdening the health care system. But this is the first time anyone in our office has ever heard of an application for citizenship being refused because the applicant was deemed 'too thin.'

'The Australian Government is very strict when it comes to procedure and documentation. If Mrs. Evans' application was incomplete, as the Department has stated, they would have failed her and it could have nothing to do with her weight.'

Helen Evans says she is hopeful she will be granted permanent residency within a few months. She will then have to wait two years before applying for full Australian citizenship.

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