26 November 2008

German family finally granted Australian permanent residence

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans announced in the Senate yesterday he has intervened in a case involving a German doctor and his family, including his son who has Down syndrome, reports The Age.

The family have applied twice for Australian permanent residency but the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) denied their applications on the grounds of one of the member's health condition.

Consideration of high-cost medical conditions is mandatory for Australian visa applications.  If a visa applicant has a serious medical condition, immigration officers need to assess the implicated costs in terms of medical, pharmaceutical and community services, home and community care, income support and special educational needs, before granting a visa for Australia.  However, in cases where applicants are successfully filling skills shortages in Australia or where they have compelling or compassionate circumstances, the DIAC can grant a waiver.

"More than 150 000 migrants settled in Australia in 2007-08.  If we did not have a health requirement, the costs to the community and health system would not be sustainable," a departmental spokesperson said in a statement.

The boy's father, Dr Moeller, is a GP in Horsham, Western Victoria, who moved to Australia two years ago to ease the skills shortage in the area.  Being a pivotal part of his local community, and the only internal medicine specialist servicing the 20,000 local residents, the case caught much media attention, which eventually caused Senator Evans to review the applications personally.

"Dr. Moeller is providing a much needed service in the area, the family have integrated very well and they have substantial community support," Evans told the Senate on Wednesday.

"It was clear to me that Dr Moeller and his family are making a very valuable contribution to their local community."

Senator also announced he would change regulations to the application process so that those applicants with a disability can bypass the health assessment. 

Dr Moeller will now be able to continue with his newly established private practice and his family not have to return home to Germany. 


The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.


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