June 28 – Eileen

I first came in contact with Angelo* and his family in 2015. Angelo suffers from numerous medical conditions, including HIV, diabetes, depression, anxiety, insomnia and has limited mobility. Angelo’s wife works full time as an administration officer to support the family financially, and she was struggling to care for Angelo as well as hold down a job that was the family’s only source of income. Their adult daughter, Angelina lives nearby, and has just started her career as a nurse. I could see the distress and pain written all over the faces of the family as they explained their problem.

Angelo and his family are all Australian citizens. Angelo has a brother, Felipe, who is a citizen of Uruguay and who was willing and able to care for Angelo, and so the family applied for a Carer Visa which would allow Felipe to come to Australia and care for Angelo.

The Department of Immigration refused the visa application, asserting that Angelo could be cared for by his immediate family members, being his wife, Mary and  daughter, Angelina in combination with support from Australian health and welfare services. HALC assisted the family with an appeal to the Tribunal.

The Tribunal agreed that the level of severity of Angelo’s medical conditions, combined with Mary’s work commitments, and the fact that Angelina was 23 with a life of her own, meant that it was reasonable that Felipe, who was a qualified carer, should be granted a carer visa. The Tribunal also noted that whilst there were community welfare agencies in Australia who could provide some services to Angelo, these services were unable to reasonably deliver the intensive level of care he required.

The relief that the family felt following this decision was overwhelming; with Angelo and his wife both breaking down in tears when they heard that their successful appeal meant that Felipe would be able to provide the much needed assistance to the family.

*Names changes to respect client confidentiality

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