96-year-old will not face deportation

Date: Aug 15, 2011

96-year-old Gladys Jefferson is being offered alternate visa arrangements by department officials after her application for a permanent residency was refused on the grounds of ill health.

But the federal minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen has issued a statement to alleviate fears that the great-grandmother will be facing immediate deportation.

He asserts: "Mrs Jefferson is lawfully in Australia and currently has a visa application before the department. There are no plans to remove her whatsoever."

Mr Bowen continues by saying that his department has been working to provide the elderly lady's family with information on legal avenues that will allow her to lawfully reside in Australia.

Media reports that indicated Mrs Jefferson could be facing deportation after her initial application was denied were erroneous, according the the minister.

The great-grandmother - a British citizen - currently lives with her daughter and son-in-law near the White Hills region of northern Tasmania.

She originally entered Australia on a tourist visa after she experienced failing health and mental issues while living on the Isle of Wight.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), an application for a contributory aged parent residential visa (subclass 864) requires a thorough medical examination.

In this case it was reported that Mrs Jefferson's health issues were the reason her request for a residential visa was denied.

Fears were raised that the lengthy trip back to the United Kingdom could pose a serious risk to the 96-year-old's aged constitution.

Her family has since engaged the services of an experienced immigration lawyer to help them work with the DIAC to identify legal avenues that could provide Mrs Jefferson with an appropriate visa.

Mr Bowen also made sure it was understood that the application would be receiving no special attention from his department.

"While we sympathise with the family’s circumstances, people wanting to migrate to Australia must meet visa requirements - including the health requirement - for the department to be able to lawfully grant them a visa," he asserted.

The application process for a residential visa can be time consuming and requires a number of fees to be paid to the department - most of which are non-refundable.

Persons interested in applying for the legal right to live and work in Australia may want to consider consulting with a trusted migration lawyer who can assist in the collation of the required documentation and provide an assessment of an individual's application.