The new Labour government in Australia finally chose not to appeal the federal court ruling upholding a judge's decision to reinstate Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef's work visa.
It was humming and hawing for sometime and the government's counsel had actually sought a stay of the federal court judgement.
AdvertisementBut bowing to public criticism from various quarters, the new Immigration Minister New Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced his decision not to appeal.
"Dr Haneef is therefore entitled to return to this country and take up employment in accordance with his 457 visa," he said.
Australia, which is undergoing skills shortages in various fields like health and engineering, desperately needs overseas workers to fill positions in the sectors.
Doctors have been able to apply for the Temporary Business Long Stay visa (subclass 457) since April 2005.
About 3,000 foreign medical graduates a year are allowed into Australia, many of them under the 457 Visa scheme.
It allows applicants to take advantage of streamlined visa processing arrangements, including the ability to lodge applications over the Internet using a special online application form'.
There are around 5,000 overseas trained doctors working under supervision and under the 457 temporary visa scheme.A Queensland Health spokesman had said earlier Dr Haneef was considered a competent young doctor by colleagues at the Gold Coast Hospital.
He had to leave Australia in June last after undergoing some traumatic times when he was linked to the failed terror attack at Glasgow airport.
Though his name was ultimately cleared, the then government chose to revoke his visa. The decision was subsequently quashed by a federal judge. The previous government appealed the ruling but the appeal was dismissed by a full bench Friday.
Now that the new Australian government has agreed not to put any further obstacles in his way, the 27-year-old Indian doctor Haneef will most likely try to re-register as a doctor in Queensland and apply for a job with his former employer, Gold Coast Hospital, his lawyer Peter Russo says.
He said the former terror suspect was pleased with the news but had been hard to contact because he had been in prayer at Mecca.
He also said Dr Haneef was not due to return to his Indian home in Bangalore until early January and would no doubt be then investigating his options to return as a medico in Australia.
He said Dr Haneef would also have to try and organise a visa for his wife Firdous and his baby.
Russo said Firdous had some concerns about allowing her husband to return following his treatment at the hands of Australian authorities earlier this year.
He felt Dr Haneef and his family should not find it too difficult if they came to Australia despite the ordeal.
"They are very resilient," he said.
"He will go about his business, and I'd urge people to give him the privacy that we all give to each other."
"We've won each time we've gone into [it] so from that point of view it's very gratifying to get it to that point where we can start talking about when Mohammed can come back," Russo told ABC News.
"I think his best option is to finish his study at the Gold Coast Hospital.
"If he's offered a really lucrative contract in another country somewhere his decision will be somewhat swayed by that and who can blame him?"
He also stressed that a review of the Migration Act was needed to try to solve any more inconsistencies.
"I think that a review into Mohammed's case would help allay those fears that other people have about how way the immigration act works," he said.
"It'd be an important step for the whole process that an inquiry is held."
Meantime Minister Chris Evans said he would not consider compensation or an apology for Dr Mohammed Haneef until a judicial inquiry into the handling of his case was complete.