Current immigration laws in Australia prevent people with a disability migrating to Australia because it is presumed that they will be an excessive cost to the Australian community. People are judged hypothetically on what somebody with their condition or disability would be eligible to receive.
They are not given the opportunity to demonstrate how they could offset possible health costs and their personal circumstances are not taken into account. As a result, hundreds of Australian families are torn apart and permanently separated as applicants applying through the family stream are still required to undergo extensive health checks. The current health requirements are therefore detrimental to Australian citizens who also have to undergo the trauma of being separated from loved ones.
The current immigration system is therefore indirectly discriminatory and at odds with Australia's international human rights obligations.
Australia prides itself on seeing the family unit as the most important element in society. The family migration stream reflects Australia’s international commitments to protect the family as the fundamental unit of society.
However, partners of Australian citizens who have a disability are barred from joining their loved one in Australia as they are seen only to be a drain on public services and funds. This is the case even if circumstances prevent the Australian citizen from moving to their partner’s country.
The current health requirement checks do not take into account a person’s individual circumstances even though there are less than 90 people a year applying for a partner visa. As a result, loved ones are unnecessarily torn away from Australian citizens, causing devastation to members of our society. Canada provides an exception to the health requirement for all spouses and partners of Canadian citizens and states that people should not be denied a visa purely because they could be an excessive health cost.
It is felt that this defeats the object of the granting of such visas which is to re-unite families and denies people the basic human right – to be able to choose their partner. To prevent more Australian families being torn apart, Australia should also provide an exemption to the health requirement for all partner visas so that no further Australian citizens have to go through the trauma of loosing the one they love.
The End Discrimination for Disabled Partners of Australian Citizens petition to Australian Government was written by Kristoffer Cox and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.