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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 - 16:05
SL asylum seeker family given a last-minute reprieve
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A family of Tamil asylum seekers remains in Australia after a legal intervention saw them pulled off a plane bound for Sri Lanka just minutes before take-off.

The dramatic reprieve at Perth airport on last night follows a dawn raid a week ago at the home in central Queensland of Nadesalingam and Priya, and their Australian-born daughters, nine-month-old Dharuniga and two-year-old Kopiga.

At 5 am on 5th of March, Australian Border Force officers took the family into detention and transported them 1,500km from Queensland to Melbourne, one day after Priya’s bridging visa had expired.

But their treatment has sparked widespread outrage. More than 62,000 people have signed a change.org petition asking the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, to intervene in the family’s case and grant them the right to stay in Australia.

Husband and wife Nadesalingam and Priya have lived in Australia since 2012 and 2013 respectively when they arrived in Australia independently by boat.

They met and married in Australia, and their daughters have never left the country.

They have lived in Biloela for four years – Nadesalingam is employed at the town’s meatworks – and are well regarded in the close-knit community which has rallied to have them returned since they had been moved.

Nadesalingam’s application for protection has been rejected by Australian authorities, and his appeals extinguished, but Priya still had legal action over her protection claim current when she and her family were seized.

Priya’s briding visa expired on 4th of March, but she has told advocates she had been in contact with the department about having it renewed, and said she had been told she would be sent a new visa.

And, in the weeks leading up to her visa expiring, court documents had been lodged in the federal circuit court over her protection claim. A directions hearing date was set for early May.

 
 
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