05 December 2011

South African grandparents denied Australian visa after failing medicals

An elderly couple from South Africa are due to be deported from Australia in the New Year after failing to meet the Department of Immigration’s health assessment criteria.

Australia visa

An elderly couple is due to be deported from Australia in the New Year after failing to meet health assessment criteria.

Ernest and Daphne Konschel, both in their eighties and currently living in Melbourne with their daughter who provides them with essential care, originally arrived in the country on an Australia visa in September 2006 that only entitled them to a temporary stay in Australia for the purposes of travel. 

After three months, the couple then applied for aged parent visas, hoping to be granted permanent residency. Since that time though, they have been resident in Australia on a bridging visa, which is granted to ensure ‘non-citizens’ are lawfully resident in situations they may otherwise not be (e.g. during the processing of an onshore application for a substantive visa).

The Konschels' application to Australian immigration was refused in 2010 on the basis of a failed health assessments undertaken by Mr. Konschel, despite having passed two previous health assessments made when applying for the visa. The couple appealed the decision on compassionate grounds, stating that as both of their children live in Australia and they have no other close family , they would have no carers if deported to South Africa.

This appeal has now been rejected by the tribunal who have decided that Mr. Konschel’s health care “would be a significant cost to the Australian community”, adding that the tribunal has “no discretion to waive the requirement” than an applicant for an aged parent visa must be refused residency if the medical assessment is failed.

The couple now has until the 3rd of January to seek a second medical opinion, but have said they think it unlikely that any test would be passed. Despite the tribunal’s decision, the couple’s daughter and her husband have committed to provide financially for any support her parents need. The Migration Review Tribunal has declined to comment.  

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

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