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Immigration Minister Andrew Giles personally intervened to prevent the deportation of the Perth-based Kollikkara family (SBS News/Tom Stayner)

The Greens are pushing to scrap an “unconscionable” policy that means migrant families face deportation if a child in that family was born with a disability. Source: SBS News.

The Disability Act does not apply to the Migration Act, meaning migrants can be told to leave Australia if treating their disability, or that of their child, means they are deemed a burden on the taxpayer.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has conceded the criteria “doesn’t meet community expectations”, saying Labor is working through solutions.

Mr Giles personally intervened in March to prevent the deportation of the Perth-based Kollikkara family, which was given less than a month to leave the country because their 10-year-old son had Down syndrome.

But in an amendment to be put to Parliament, the Greens will move to ensure the “highly ableist” policy behind the initial ruling is scrapped entirely.

“This kind of blatant discrimination belongs in the dustbin of history,” the party’s immigration spokesperson, Nick McKim said.

“It’s just unconscionable that a family with a child, who is in some cases born in Australia, is at risk of deportation because that child is disabled. We need to change that.”

A spokesperson for Home Affairs stressed failing the health requirement did not mean automatic refusal to a person’s visa application, with waivers available to many.

Those ineligible for a waiver can also appeal through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, they said.

The Greens’ bill would prevent the significant cost threshold (SCT) from being used to assess visa claims.

The SCT means visas can be refused if caring for the applicant, or their dependant, would cost the taxpayer $51,000 over a decade, or $5100 annually.

That’s a far lower threshold than comparable countries like Canada, where it equates to roughly $270,000 over a decade, or New Zealand, where it’s about $150,000.


The Greens want an end to the ‘unconscionable’ deportation of migrants with disability (By Finn McHugh, SBS News)