Good evening! I and my wife are first time to join the BCNA. I hope you don’t mind if I’m going to share our family’s experience and “adventure” here “Down-Under” Australia since 2005.
This is to show a different aspect and perspective on the impact of breast cancer to the whole family, and to show that this is happening in real life, that others may not be aware.
Our Permanent Resident Visa application here in Australia was denied and refused because of the medical condition of my wife Mary. Below is the letter we sent to our family friends (after I received a call from our Australian Immigration Case Officer) for sharing purposes, and that we might find other families or individuals with similar experience/story like us, and that we may learn from them or them from us:
Hi guys. How are you and your family? Just updating you of what’s going on now with my family. My family and I are very honoured to have you as our family friends. As you are aware, when we arrived here in Australia on 2005, we don’t have any family friends or relatives, except of course, with my employer.
Up to the present, me and my family are on Temporary Visa 422 (for medical doctors) since we arrived here in WA on Aug 2005. While working here in WA as a General Practitioner, I tried to look for another pathway to apply for Permanent Residency visa, (aside for being a medical doctor, since being a medical doctor need lots of requirements especially for an Overseas Trained Doctor like me).
Another Visa subclass 175 (Independent Skilled Migrant) for permanent residency I applied using my other skill as a Medical Administrator (which I'm qualified also) was lodged on 2008. It took us almost 2 years of long-waiting before we received a reply from DIAC-Immigration. During the waiting period, while we are here in WA, my beloved wife 41 year old got very sick in 2009.
She had 3 major surgical operations: breast mastectomy/removal due to sudden onset of breast cancer, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, then had breast reconstruction, then by June 2010, brain surgery from tumour that spread from her breast cancer, then brain radiation therapy. After that her specialist made a mistake of “missing another tumour that’s growing in her lungs”. The proposed management was for another lung operation +/- chemotherapy +/- radiation therapy, which my wife now refused and she don’t want anymore active treatment. Added to our “medical misfortunes” here in WA was when I underwent an unnecessary knee operation due to a “missed or wrong diagnosis” from a different specialist. Take note, even these specialists made their mistakes, no apology was given to my family, especially to my wife. We managed to survive all these things from our own finances, private health insurance, friends, church, private organizations and community support. No help or support from Australian government because we are still on Temporary visa. All these things happened while we are here in Western Australia .
When we received an email from our Immigration Case Officer (Ala--)sometime in November 2010, I informed her of the changes in our circumstances, particularly the medical condition of my wife. Because of the changes in our circumstances, our points system dropped down a little but we're still qualified for other Visa types. She suggested us different visa options such as a Visa 176 State Sponsorship, or an Employer Nomination Scheme, or a Regional Sponsorship. Thanks to the “Letters of Support” from JUDI MOYLAN MP and FRANK ALBAN MLA, we were able to get the Western Australian State Sponsorship. We then proceeded with our Visa 176 application under WA State sponsorship using my Medical Administrator skill (from Visa 175 changed to Visa 176). A new case officer (And---) emailed me this February 2011 for us to have our health requirement medicals, police clearance etc. Again, they are aware of the medical condition of my wife. We paid the necessary fees and did what we are asked for. Then 2 days ago, I received an email requesting me to call the same case officer (And---). When I talked to him, he is advising us to file a new and different Visa application (again) because he (or the DIAC) will definitely “DENY or REFUSE” our WA State Sponsorship 176 Visa Application for Permanent Residency due to the medical condition of my wife. As I said, DIAC (thru case officers) was already aware of my wife’s medical condition but then the initial case officer (Ala--) suggested us a different Visa 176 and told to proceed with the medical examination health requirement (as per email of the new case officer And---) giving my family hope that DIAC will give us consideration. That’s why we did everything what was told us. But this turned-out to be a “false hope”. I mentioned to our case officer about:
The Migration Regulations allow a waiver of the need to meet the health requirement in some circumstances. The waiver is available if an application is based on humanitarian considerations (such as refugees), or a very close family relationship (such as a spouse or child).
But apparently we are not qualified to avail this (because accordingly, we are not refugees/asylum seekers) and apparently there is no health waiver for this type of Visa 176 which was not mentioned to us before. He said that my wife will be causing "undue cost or undue prejudice to the access of Australians to medical and support services if a visa is granted".
I even told our case officer that my wife is already on palliative care (meaning no more active treatment because of her very poor prognosis, which means she’s dying!), and I'm willing to sign a letter, that we're not going to access Australian Medicare for my wife, and that I'm going to get private health insurance exclusive for her. Still, the answer is NO!.
Even my job/working contribution as a doctor/GP since we arrived here on 2005 and the taxes I contributed to Australia for more than 5 years of service in rural and remote areas (Geraldton, Karratha, Dampier, Dalyellup-Bunbury, Ellenbrook) were not given consideration and not appreciated. One of my patient in the medical centre commented, how come these “rioting” asylum seekers who have not contributed yet to Australia but only embarrassments, additional expenses from taxpayers money and fear to neighbouring legitimate Australian people, have the right to demand for their visa, while in my case, I had my share and contribution to Australia, have not cause any embarrassment or trouble, have not use taxpayers money but because of the “long waiting time” (same complaint of the asylum seekers) of visa application processing, my beloved wife became sick here in Australia and suddenly developed cancer from apparently no reasons/cause, and now the Immigration is using this medical illness to deny and refuse our visa application. Maybe if the immigration did process our application immediately, then probably we will not have this kind of problem.
This new visa advised by our case officer will entail a change of application, repeat of paper works, paying again of different fees, starting all over (again), prolong agony of waiting (again)
And even if I changed to another Visa application (Employer Nomination Scheme as suggested by our case officer), apparently there is NO guarantee of approval! Apparently, they (DIAC) will approve only our Permanent Residency visa if my wife is already DEAD! (OR if we are DIVORCED!; OR if we are LEGALLY SEPARATED! This is another “very painful hard blow” to our already financially drained, emotionally, spiritually and physically stressed and "worn-out" family. My family is also worried because my medical board registration will be expiring this coming June 2011. What we are hoping and wishing for is for my family especially to my dying wife (loving mother of my 2 daughters aged 13 and 10 years old) is the granting of our Visa 176 permanent residency application, before the expiration of my medical board registration. Since currently we are on Temporary Visa, once my registration expires on June 2011, then we will need to leave Australia , after more than 5 years of providing medical services to the rural and remote places of Western Australia . My wish is for my wife to feel and see that her two daughters are here, and proudly Australians before she deteriorate and die. But since we were refused already of our visa application, we decided not to pursue and insist anymore our case to the immigration department of Australia.
Even these things are happening to my family, we’re still very thankful and we appreciate the opportunity given us to experience and live the Australian way of life. We are very grateful to have many Australian friends, like you, who are always there for us, more important than any material things or wealth in this world.
Thank you very much.
PS: Kindly please protect our identity because we are still on Temporary Visa :-)