A German doctor with a son who has Down syndrome has won his fight to stay in Australia, after earlier being told to pack up and leave. Bernhard Moeller had been on a temporary visa since arriving in Australia in 2005 to work at a rural hospital. But the immigration department decided that the public cost of treatment for his 13-year-old son, Lukas, would be too high. Just hours after Dr Moeller lost his final appeal, however, immigration minister Chris Evans intervened and used his powers to grant permanent residency, saying that the Moeller family were making a valuable contribution to Australia.

Dr Moeller and his wife and three children came to Australia under a special visa scheme to fill vacancies in the rural health system. The family’s difficulties with the immigration authorities have won them support from all over Australia and they say they are “really happy” with the outcome. “We’ve been jumping for joy,” he said. They kept “the bad things” about their struggle away from Lukas, who always believed his dad would “fix it for him”. Mr Evans said he would seek to change immigration laws to allow health requirements for permanent visa applicants to be waived in such cases. ~ Deutsche Welle, Nov 26


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet