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Family Facing Deportation From Australia Because Of Son’s CP

March 24, 2021

I can’t describe how sad and angry I am after reading this. I have Cerebral Palsy and am a British Asian. I have grown up in the UK. I can’t imagine anything like this happening here. The fact that this child was actually born in Australia just makes the situation 1000 times worse in my eyes.


Australia’s disability discrimination commissioner has called on the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, to intervene “in a humane way” in a case in which a family is facing deportation because their six-year-old son has a disability.

On Tuesday night Ben Gauntlett was quizzed at Senate estimates about the plight of Australian-born Kayaan Katyal, and his parents, Varun and Priyanka, who are facing deportation after being rejected for permanent residency last month.

The ABC, which revealed the case on Sunday, reported that the family had been told in a rejection letter that Kayaan would cost taxpayers $1.23m over 10 years, which “would be likely to result in a significant, undue cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care and/or community services”.

Varun moved to Australia from India 12 years ago and Priyanka has lived in the country for eight years, while Kayaan, who lives with cerebral palsy, was born in Australia.Two men killed in floods; state MP stands by statement on federal senator – as it happenedRead more

Gauntlett noted under questioning from the Greens senator Jordon Steele-John that he did not have the power to waive visa conditions, but said he was willing to advocate on the family’s behalf.

He said the immigration minister had the power to intervene in visa cases and was hopeful “the minister would exercise their discretion in a humane way in this instance”.

He said he also hoped the minister understood that Kayaan “has a lot to give to the society in which he lives, and his family does as well”.Advertisement

“I would hope the minister would understand the importance of exercising their discretion or waiving visa conditions in this instance,” Gauntlett said.

Under a controversial section of Australia’s Migration Act, permanent visa applicants must meet a health requirement by demonstrating they are “free from any disease or condition” that would be a “significant healthcare and community service cost to the Australian community”.

The Department of Home Affairs has repeatedly insisted the law is not discriminatory and noted that people with disability are not automatically rejected.

But Gauntlett told Senate estimates there were questions about whether the law breached the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

“We would argue that there is a very viable argument that this is actually contrary to article 18 of the convention,” he said.

Australia’s health requirement was criticised by the UN in 2019 and has since been the subject of a campaign, Welcoming Disability, to overturn the law.

Gauntlett noted that Canada had changed a similar law, which the Trudeau government said in 2018 was “out of step with a “21st century approach to persons with disabilities”.

Steele-John, who also has cerebral palsy, said it was wrong to view people with disabilities as a cost to health system. He said a parliamentary inquiry had recommended a change to the law in 2010.

“This is not new conversation,” he said. “It concerns me greatly that a child with cerebral palsy is facing deportation simply because of their disability in a context where the NDIS system now recognises that disability is not a drain on the health system.

“In fact, it’s something that can people can receive support for so they can in fact contribute to society.”

The immigration minister was approached for comment.

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