Biloela family granted bridging visas to stay in Australia

·2-min read

A Tamil asylum-seeker family has been granted three-month bridging visas providing them with work and study rights.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has used his power to intervene in the case of the Murugappan family, who were recently allowed to leave detention on Christmas Island.

"This decision allows three members of the family to reside in the Perth community on bridging visas while the youngest child's medical care, and the family's legal matters, are ongoing," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The fourth family member's visa status is unchanged."

A supplied image obtained on Sunday, June 20, 2021, shows Nades, Priya and their Australian-born girls Kopika and Tharnicaa. A Tamil asylum-seeker family that has been detained on Christmas Island for the past two years has be reunited on the Australian mainland. (AAP Image/Supplied by @HomeToBilo) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Nades, Priya and their Australian-born girls Kopika and Tharnicaa. Source: AAP

Family friend Angela Fredericks said bridging visas have been issued to father Nades, mother Priya, and their eldest daughter, six-year-old Kopika, but not to their youngest child, Tharnicaa, aged four.

She says Tharnicaa remains in community detention and the family is therefore trapped in Perth, unable to return to their home in the Queensland town of Biloela without splitting up.

She said the family's lawyer was making inquiries regarding Tharnicaa's visa status.

"Still there is no certain path way home to Bilo. While we welcome Priya, Nades, and Kopika being granted bridging visas, we wonder what precisely is the minister's objective in denying little Tharni one?" she said in a statement.

"This family must stay together, and they need to be back in Biloela as soon as humanly possible."

The family was locked up for more than three years as their fight against deportation progressed through the courts. The matter is still not resolved. 

Tharnicaa was flown from Christmas Island to a Perth hospital for treatment for a blood infection, reigniting calls for the government to allow them to stay.

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