The Nadesalingam family seeking asylum in Australia have been granted temporary visas allowing them to stay in the country for another 12 months.
The family’s lawyer, Carina Ford, said Immigration Minister Alex Hawke granted three members of the family – father, Nades, mother, Priya and their oldest daughter, Kopika – 12-month bridging visas.
Their youngest daughter Tharnicaa was not granted a visa, which means the family will not be allowed to return to Queensland or Biloela, where they previously lived.
“It means that she’s under the community determination order, which effectively means that unless that changes they remain in [Western Australia] at the address designated,” Ms Ford said.
The family was placed into community detention for two hours today after their temporary bridging visas expired.
“The law only allows the minister to intervene if they are under detention,” Ms Ford said.
“The Migration Act is very complex and very regulated so they had to go into detention for a couple of hours.”
The Minister’s office said there was no official comment.
Supporters of the family, in Biloela, have issued a statement saying they are “surprised” by the Minister’s decision.
“Australian law gives Minister Hawke the power to bring this sorry saga to a close with the stroke of a pen, by issuing the same visa to four-year-old Tharni that he has granted to her mum, dad and sister,” the statement said.
Ms Ford said today’s news came as a welcome surprise.
“I was concerned about the visas expiring just before Christmas, particularly for my clients, the concept of having to deal with that just before Christmas is very daunting,” she said.
“There’s no doubt today brings a sense of relief for us all who have worked on the campaign.
“It doesn’t mean that it’s over but it’s at least a promising sign that consideration is at least being given to their case that’s before the minister now.”
The family still has two cases running before the courts regarding bridging visas and the citizenship of the children.
Supporters are now calling for the minister to issue the same visa to Tharnicaa to allow the family to return to Queensland.
“Just like her sister Kopika, Tharnicaa was born in Queensland and that’s where she and her family belong,” family friend Angela Fredericks said.Internet Explorer Channel Network