Child’s Down Syndrome Leads to Rejection of Permanent Residency to British Midwife in Australia

by Gopalan on Nov 10 2008 1:40 PM

 Child’s Down Syndrome Leads to Rejection of Permanent Residency to British Midwife in Australia
One more person, a British midwife this time, has been denied permanent residency in Australia because the applicant’s child is suffering from Down Syndrome.
Only last fortnight a German doctor’s request had been turned down this way. In both the cases the cost to the country has been cited as the reason for rejection.

The decision has been slammed as short-sighted by Down Syndrome support groups.

The application of the midwife with a Perth hospital was assessed by the Migration Review Tribunal, and her future in Australia now rests with Immigration Minister Chris Evans. The midwife doesn’t want to be named, it is reported.

Another to suffer a similar fate was German doctor Bernhard Moeller, who brought his family to Horsham in Victoria two years ago.

His case has been taken up with the federal government by the Victorian premier John Brumby himself.

Down Syndrome West Australia spokeswoman Jan Gothard said it was standard practice for families with Down syndrome children to be rejected for permanent residency in Australia.

"The Immigration Department's reason is that the person with the disability will be a cost to the community," Dr Gothard said yesterday. "There's no consideration of the benefits of a person with a disability coming into the community."

Dr Gothard said the application criteria placed a blanket ban on families with Down syndrome, and did not allow assessment on an individual basis.

She said this resulted in families having to appeal decisions with the Migration Review Tribunal, and then, as a last resort, in an application to the immigration minister to intervene.

Permanent residency applications need to fulfil the health requirements set down in the Migration Act and any health issue with significant cost implications is likely to lead to a visa being refused.

But Dr Gothard said this view was outdated, and the majority of people with Down syndrome went on to be productive members of society. "Most people with Down syndrome these days will go on to lead lives where they will be working, with perhaps supported employment, but certainly earning a living. There's no necessity for people with Down syndrome to have additional health problems. That blanket rejection of people with Down syndrome and other disabilities is outdated and inappropriate."

Christopher Evans, the West Australian minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said the Government valued the contribution of overseas health professionals, and all applications for ministerial intervention were assessed on the merits of the case.


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