Family Has Weeks Left In Australia Before Deportation
An Irish family facing deportation over their son's cystic fibrosis has 25 days before they have to leave Australia.
Christine and Tony Hyde -- who have lived in regional Victoria for 10 years -- are appealing to Immigration Minister David Coleman to intervene in their case for permanent residency in Australia.
Their application was denied on the grounds three-year-old Darragh's condition would be a burden to the taxpayer.
Now, after a four-year battle, the couple have been told their temporary bridging visa expires on June 18.
"The more I say it, the worse it gets ... it's really scary," Christine told 10 daily.
"We are trying to put on a brave face for Darragh, but I don't know what we're going to do."
Christine and Tony Hyde decided to pack up their lives in Ireland and move to Australia in 2009.
They've been living in the regional town of Seymour, 100 kilometres north of Melbourne, where Christine works as an assistant principal at a local primary school and Tony volunteers with the State Emergency Service.
The couple applied for permanent residency in August 2015, weeks before Darragh was born. Then came the heartbreaking news their son had cystic fibrosis -- a genetic condition affecting the lungs and digestive system that requires ongoing medical treatment and physiotherapy.
The average cost of medical care for those with the condition is between $14,000 and $50,000, depending on severity.
Christine and Tony were required to submit a doctor's letter detailing their son's condition -- which the Department rejected on the grounds Darragh's condition was severe, and at a significant cost to the taxpayer.
The decision was appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which recommended the case be considered for ministerial intervention.
"In the case of the Hydes, Christine is a valuable asset as a teacher in a regional area and Tony is a highly regarded volunteer," representing lawyer Katherine Holdsworth told 10 daily.
The family's plight has attracted an outpouring of support from the public, with an online petition reaching 74, 500.
Holdsworth confirmed the Department of Home Affairs had received the Tribunal's decision, adding her team would be providing written submissions to the Minister.
“We are fully aware that the Minister considers many cases every year, but do believe given the significant community interest in this case that it is one that warrants his personal attention," she said.
"As such we would be recommending that the Ministerial Intervention Unit refer it to the Minister for consideration.”
Hyde is hoping her family's case will be at least considered before their visa expires. If a decision is made before June 18, the family will have no other legal reason to remain in Australia.
"I don't know when you begin to stop having a life here," she said.
"We have friends, jobs .. a home full of memories. We don't have anything back in Ireland."
In a statement to 10 daily, a spokesperson for the Department said "it does not comment on individual cases".
Featured image: Supplied