Family Facing Deportation Over Son's Cystic Fibrosis 'Left In Limbo'
An Irish family is pleading for government leniency as they face the prospect of having to leave Australia over their son's health condition.
Christine and Tony Hyde have lived in regional Victoria for 10 years, and are waiting to hear whether Immigration Minister David Coleman will personally intervene in their case for permanent residency.
The application was previously refused because their three-year-old son Darragh, who was born in Australia and has Cystic Fibrosis, was deemed a burden on the country's health system.
But, with the couple's current bridging visa expiring next Tuesday, time is running thin and the family have not had a final answer.
"We are living in limbo day by day, it's really stressful," Christine told 10 daily.
"Is anyone going to confirm that the Minister is going to look at our case?"
Christine and Tony moved from Ireland to Australia in 2009 on working holiday visas.
They've been living in the regional town of Seymour, 100 kilometres north of Melbourne. Christine works as an acting Vice Principal at a local primary school and Tony volunteers with the State Emergency Service.
The couple applied for a permanent residency visa in August 2015, based on Christine's skills as a teacher. Darragh was born weeks later, and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis shortly after.
His parents were required to submit a doctor's letter detailing their son's condition -- treatment for which costs on average between $14,000 and $50,000 to treat, depending on severity.
On those grounds, a medical officer refused their residency application, saying Darragh's case 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 last month.
"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."
In a statement to 10 daily, a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said on Monday that "it does not comment on individual cases", adding individuals may remain in Australia while their case is being considered.
As the Hyde family awaits a decision, they are considering their options to apply for another bridging visa. But that is only buying time.
"We just want a decision to see if the case is going to be heard by the Minister," Christine said.
"We are trying to get on with everyday life as best as we can but it's very stressful.
"What should we be doing at work? Are we going to be here?"
The family's years-long plight continues to attract an outpouring of support from the public, with an online petition now at 110,000 signatures.
Featured image: Supplied