Come live in Australia… er, but not you with the funny kids

Peter Threlfall is a man after my own heart: he wants to migrate to Australia. Okay, in fairness it must be said that he wants to move to South Australia where, I am reliably informed by Mrs Exile, they’re all a bit weird (no idea, I think it might some long standing rivalry over who’s got the best arts festival or something). And also he wants to be a cop, though without actually knowing the guy I wouldn’t hold that against him, and really it’s pretty understandable seeing as he currently goes by Sergeant Threlfall in his job with the Metropolitan Police.

And he’s keen to live and work in Oz. From personal experience I can tell you that you have to be. The process is neither brief nor cheap, not even when your significant other comes with the blue passport with strange animals on. Just for a spouse/fiancé/partner type visa you have to have a medical with blood tests and chest X-rays, police certificate, references from two or three Australian Citizens who aren’t your partner, a shitload evidence to show that the relationship is genuine, and you both have to fill in a huge form which you send off with your pommie passport and all the other stuff to Australia House in The Strand, making sure to include the most important item of all on the very top: a big cheque. And then you wait for a call and if they’re happy with what you tell them over the phone they send your passport back with a visa in it, and you’re finally allowed to come and get sunburned at Christmas.

That’s a potted version, but let me say again that this is for people whose better halves are Aussie citizens. Peter Threlfall was applying through the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, which is about getting foreign nationals to fill jobs in places out in the arse of nowhere that are vacant because the Aussies mostly want to live near the bigger cities. And that means he probably had bigger forms to fill in and more hoops to jump through than I did. It certainly cost him more – about $8,000 or £5,000 – and you also have to have a job offer already. Which Peter Threlfall did, as South Australia Police were going to give him a job as a constable in Ceduna, a small town of a couple of thousand souls a bit west of Adelaide. In fact quite a bit west of Adelaide – it’s nearly as far west as Melbourne is east, and if his missus had fancied nipping into Rundle Mall to do some shopping she’d need to allow for a good 9 hour drive. Each way. Ceduna isn’t exactly one of these pub + petrol station bush towns out in the middle of the GAFA* but it’s still pretty small and fairly isolated. But all the same Peter Threlfall and his family were prepared to live in Ceduna if that was the deal for being able to live and work in Oz, and it probably suited SA Police just as much as it did the Threlfalls.

Except the Immigration Department have just given him the flick.

AN English policeman and his family are devastated after being told they cannot move to South Australia because his stepdaughter, Sarah, is autistic.


Mr Threlfall was preparing to move his wife and family to South Australia, but was told in December they had been denied visas under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

He had been offered a job as a constable at Ceduna, on the state’s West Coast, and was due to start work as soon as his visa was approved.

Mr Threlfall has spent the past few months trying to reverse the decision but his family is now resigned to staying in the UK.

And it appears that this is because to the Immigration people autism = will cost the state money. Not ‘might’ – ‘will‘.

The refusal to let the Threlfalls into the country was based on the presumption his step-daughter Sarah’s condition would place a burden on healthcare and community services in Australia.

This despite the fact that there’s autism and there’s autism, and you don’t have to be an expert to be aware that not everyone diagnosed with what’s now being called an Autistic Spectrum Disorder mumbles about being a very good driver and freaks out at the suggestion of flying with anyone other than QANTAS. Sure, some people with autism do, but not all. So you’d imagine that maybe they’d look at things on a case by case basis, which I thought was what they were supposed to do with visa applications anyway, and then see that Peter Threlfall’s stepdaughter seems to be on the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum.

Mr Threlfall said Sarah worked part-time as both a cleaner and a store assistant. His family was not seeking any assistance for Sarah…

She’s also a volunteer for the Scouts and Guides and planned to study hairdressing here. So, Immigration people, this girl may meet the medical criteria to be called autistic, but Rain Man she certainly isn’t. Volunteer work and two part time jobs? For Christ’s sake, she’s almost certainly paying taxes and if hairdressers in Ceduna cost anything like what my wife has to pay she’d end up a taxpayer here as well. And if she’s capable of paying taxes what’s the fucking problem? She’d put in like everyone else, and for all we know might even choose to buy health insurance and be even less of a potential – potential, Immigration weenies – drain on SA’s health resources.

But perhaps we can’t blame the Immigration Department (my bold).

An Immigration Department spokesman confirmed Mr Threlfall and his family had applied for visas. His daughter had not met the legislated health requirement, which was partly to restrict public expenditure on healthcare and community services.

In other words Canberra wrote the laws a certain way and too bad for the Threlfalls, though bizarrely they could appeal this if they were already in Australia – why this should be so I can’t imagine, perhaps it’s just easier to say no to someone ten thousand miles away – and getting this kind of thing overruled is not unprecedented.

Two months ago, Filipino doctor Edwin Lapidario avoided deportation only after directors at his Hackham Medical Centre workplace agreed to pay $52,000 towards his autistic son’s medical costs.

In 2008, a migrant doctor working in Victoria was threatened with deportation because his son had Down syndrome.

It took an international outcry and the intervention of then Immigration Minister Chris Evans to overturn the decision to deport German doctor Bernhard Moeller and his family.

Neither of which is any help to Peter Threlfall and his family since Lapidario and Moeller were both already living and working here, nor presumably SAPOL who will have to find someone else to fill the vacancy in the police force at Ceduna. And all because the rules seem to say that whether someone has a certain medical condition is more relevant than whether or not that prevents them from working and paying tax, which itself is only an issue because Australia, like many western nations, has a medical condition of its own: welfarestateitis. It’s very very difficult to cure, but you’d think there’d be some system that migrants could sign a waiver agreeing that they’d have nothing to do with it and would ensure they’d make appropriate arrangements for their own medical care, in return for which they’d be exempt from the Medicare Levy when it came to paying their taxes… ah, but that could mean a lot of people handing over less money to the federal government than they do now, and might even lead to Aussies demanding to be able to opt out of Medicare as well.

No, now I’ve thought it through it makes perfect sense from the government’s point of view. Far easier to label and pigeonhole individuals and be relatively indiscriminate when it comes to giving people who want to live here the flick. That someone might be willing and able to make a contribution isn’t relevant when Australia seems to need migrant families with mildly autistic hairdressers in less than it needs families with sadistic rapist kidnappers in, though to be fair they did send that bastard back where he came from. Which was Britain.

* GAFA, abbreviation: Great Australian Fuck All. Australia’s secret seventh state, encompassing much of the other mainland states, a large part of the Northern Territory, and indeed most of the continent. Despite the vast areas of sunburned scrub, desert void and eerily silent forest almost all of the GAFA is more interesting to look at than anything in Canberra.

9 comments for “Come live in Australia… er, but not you with the funny kids

  1. Jim
    June 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Well yes but. I wish the UK were similarly strict on who they let in here to sponge off the NHS the moment they arrive. Presumably she isn’t capable of looking after herself, or living independently without State financing, so yes, while her parents are of working age they will look after and pay for her, and probably right up until they die. What happens then? Who pays then? The good old taxpayer thats who. And its not much use signing a document saying you don’t need State assistance – as before, what happens when the parents are no longer around?

    I’m afraid that I support the right of the Australian taxpayer to make (and enforce rigorously) whatever rules it sees fit to reduce future demands on their money.

    • Mudplugger
      June 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Agreed. At least the OZ Government is applying some considered criteria to those taking up citizenship, with all its mutual rights and responsibilities.

      There will be some harsh, indeed some sad cases, but the principle is right and should be copied by the UK’s own ridiculously lax immigration system, which seems to delight in loading the State with every cripple, free-loader and liability it can find anywhere on the planet. Trouble is, our masters in Brussels won’t let us……

      • June 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

        Agree with both, but I do take the point that there’s no assessment of severity of condition (which in an ideal world, would be the deciding point) which means its yet another tick-box designed to be operated by the lowest common denominator.

    • Lord T
      June 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      I thought that they were taking in a shitload of refugees to go straight on the dole as most socialist governments are doing.

      Am I wrong about that? Has it changed?

      • June 14, 2012 at 3:37 am

        Yes, they’re trying desperately to find ways of keeping them out because it’s a hot button issue with the media, so both main parties are dreaming up ways of ‘stopping the boats’. That the boats are only a small percentage of illegal migration anyway, the majority arriving by air on various temporary visas and then simply overstaying, and that any migrants intending to sit there getting handouts would go somewhere else if there were no handouts to begin with seems not to have occurred. There’s little for a government to gain by allowing illegals in and bribing them with other people’s money since the time required to become a citizen and get the vote is significantly longer than the election cycle.

  2. June 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Addressing all replies here:

    I think that perhaps I’ve not stressed a couple of points. First, they’d have been able to appeal here but cannot from the UK. Logic? Will her condition be any hudifferent? Second, successful appeals here are not unprecedented even with individuals far less able to live independently than a high functioning autistic person. There is also the point that whilst they may be a minority some autistic people are able to live relatively or even completely independent lives. There seems to have been no assessment of whether Sarah Threlfall can – just a presumption that she cannot.

    Finally, and this can’t be said often enough, if a country has a problem with people rocking up for the freebies and handouts the simplest thing to do is to stop giving them out. By and large Australia is less prone to over generosity than the UK anyway but both nations could go much further. Any nation could, if it had the will to do so, go so far that it was understood by all that there’d be no welfare and no special help for anyone. None. All welcomed but it’s sink or swim. It’s likely that migration will self regulate to be almost entirely those willing and able to swim. To put it another way,the concern that Sarah Threlfall may be a burden on the welfare state is only an issue because the state insists on providing welfare.

    • Jim
      June 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Hard cases make bad law. If everyone could appeal from abroad what do you think would be the outcome? Every man and his disabled dog trying it on, thats what.

      No-one who is not Australian has any right whatsoever to demand to move there. If they want to be cast iron sure about who they let in, thats their lookout, and no-one can complain one iota. Or rather they will complain, but have zero right to do so.

      • June 14, 2012 at 3:31 am

        If everyone could appeal from abroad what do you think would be the outcome? Every man and his disabled dog trying it on, thats what.

        Are you saying that doesn’t happen when you can appeal on the same grounds if you’ve already come here? Again, where’s the logic?

        If they want to be cast iron sure about who they let in, thats their lookout…

        Except that they are a million miles from being cast iron sure about who they let in. Just like the UK, Australia has no shortage of news headlines about migrants committing serious crime. I don’t mean illegals either, but people who have come here entirely legally. In fact there’s one guy accused of rape who then did a flit back to India and is being extradited this week – he was here legally.

        As for the demanding to live here issue, what’s left of the aborigines might say that white Australia is batting a sticky wicket there. I wouldn’t necessarily agree but I would reiterate that migration problems are largely (though not always deliberately) created by the state for the state to solve. Such is the case here: the concern is welfare costs, but that is only even a possibility because the state insists on providing welfare. Remove the provision and the problem vanishes into thin air. So will any migrants who come expecting to be spoon fed money.

  3. Andrew Duffin
    June 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

    This happens all the time, in countries that control their own borders. I have a friend who was all set to move to Canada, until “they” found out that one of his kids is autistic. At that point, everything stopped – might become a charge on the state, etc etc. No possibility of residence, regardless of guarantees from the guy’s employer about covering medical costs. No way. Stay home.

    I wish our lot were as strict, frankly.

Comments are closed.