A Vietnamese family who were threatened with deportation from Narrogin late last year have been given a reprieve after being granted permanent Australian residency.
In December Diem Nguyen and her husband Huy Hoang Vu, who work at Fortune French Hot Bread Bakery, and their three children, Huang, 18, Gia, 9, and Ang Thu, 5, were told by the Department of Immigration they would have to return to Vietnam no later than January 30 to reapply for 457 temporary work visas.
Community support for the family, who moved to Australia four years ago, culminated in a 1500-signature petition to help save them from being deported.
Last Wednesday the family received a letter from the department saying Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen had exercised his ministerial intervention powers to grant each of them a 151 former resident visa, starting from January 23.
Petition organiser and bakery worker Sarah Kain said she believed the result was a combination of the petition and complaints Mr Bowen had received.
She praised Wagin MLA Terry Waldron’s electorate officer, Linda Nottle, for putting her concerns before the ministry. “This result really shows to me that people power can make a difference,” Ms Kain said.
Mrs Nottle said she liaised on behalf of the family with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and was able to get a bridging visa from November until January 30. She also provided Mr Bowen with a letter of support for the family’s residency.
Bakery owner of eight years Dong Van Nguyen, who is Diem Nguyen’s brother, said he was thrilled the bakery could stay open.
“We were worried that we might have to close the bakery because we wouldn’t be able to staff it,” he said.
Mr Vu said he was relieved to receive the letter from Mr Bowen.
Diem said her family loved life in Narrogin and considered it their home.