The Tamil family, at the center of a four-year immigration struggle, has been granted permanent visas, ending a community-led campaign against their deportation.
Most important points:
- Interior Ministry officials visited the Nadesalingams today to grant them permanent visas
- Campaigner and family friend Angela Fredericks says the news was met with tears and cheers
- The family has been in immigration detention since 2018
Priya Nadaraja, Nades Murugappan and their daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa have been living in Biloela in regional Queensland since June, after the new Labor government granted them bridging visas.
The family had been in immigration detention for four years after their visa expired in 2018.
The ABC confirmed that the family was visited today by the Interior Ministry team at their home in Biloela and said they had been granted a permanent visa.
A family friend and “Home to Bilo” campaigner, Angela Fredericks, was with the family when officials visited.
“They gave us the news that the minister decided to intervene and use his powers to grant permanent visas to all four family members,” said Ms Fredericks.
“It was a very exciting day because we knew they were coming, but we had no idea what for.
“So when they said the words ‘permanently’ there was instant tears and such excitement and cheers.
“To say to the girls ‘you can stay in Australia forever’, there was just a big yay from Kopika.”
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the decision followed “careful consideration” of the “complex and specific circumstances of the family”.
“This government made a commitment before the election that if elected, we would allow the family to return to Biloela and resolve the family’s immigration status,” he said.
“Today, the government delivered on that promise.
“I wish the Nadesalingam family my best wishes.”
The family was placed in immigration detention in 2018 after the parents’ bridging visa expired.
They were not found by the coalition government to meet Australia’s refugee demands and were held in Melbourne and Christmas Island, and in community detention in Perth.
The end of a ’10-year struggle’
Ahead of the election, former Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “no protection was owed” to the family as claims for protection had been rejected.
Shortly after the election, the Labor government intervened, allowing the family to return to Biloela on bridging visas.
It was the first time that the youngest daughter Tharnicaa received a visa.
They were welcomed home with a weekend of celebrations in June, including a special ceremony at a multicultural festival, and a birthday party in the park for Tharnicaa, her first outside immigration detention.
They also met Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on June 15 on the sidelines of a federal cabinet meeting in Gladstone.
Ms Fredericks said the immigration uncertainty started when the family first came to Australia more than a decade ago.
“This has been a ten-year battle for Priya and Nades,” she said.
“For the first time they can really plan for a future, they really learn that the dreams and goals they have for their little family can all come true.
“The peace of mind that gives someone, knowing they are no longer on temporary or bridging visas, but to really know that you are here permanently and that no one can take that away from you, it’s just such a beautiful gift.”
She said the family would celebrate tonight with a range of curries.
“People’s power has won and this people’s power shows that the Australian people are ready for a new conversation about refugees,” said Ms Fredericks.
“And we’re ready to actually be united as one.”