Biloela family's status to be 'finalised'

·2-min read

A family of Tamil asylum seekers will hopefully have their immigration status finalised "in a positive way" next week after their return to their adopted central Queensland town, their lawyer says.

Nadesalingam Murugappan and his wife Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingam and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, six, and Tharnicaa, four, returned to Queensland on Friday after a four-year legal ordeal.

The Sri Lankan Tamil family and their supporters have been fighting to return to the town of Biloela ever since immigration authorities swooped on their home and detained them in March 2018.

The federal government has given the family bridging visas but their lawyer Carina Ford is hopeful their status will be finalised in the next week.

"I am hopeful that that will be in a positive way, so I'm not too worried about them being returned," she told ABC Radio on Thursday.

Ms Ford said the family can't apply for permanent residency and their status is up to new Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil.

"There's been active consideration, and I've been in discussions with the minister about that," she said.

"So it's just a matter of determining which relevant powers you can use, and we hope that that's finalised within the next week or so, knowing that this weekend is really all about them settling in and returning to Biloela."

The family are staying in Brisbane and are booked on a flight that will touch down in their town on Friday afternoon with supporters and residents set to meet them.

Their return to Biloela coincides with the Banana Shire's Flourish Multicultural Festival on Saturday and Tharnicaa's fifth birthday on Sunday.

"So we have that as well on Sunday, so it's going to be really happy, joyous occasion," Ms Ford said.

The family's removal from Biloela in 2018 set off a dogged campaign by locals for their return which lasted more than four years.

Nearly 600,000 people signed Home to Bilo campaigner Angela Frederick's Change.org petition in support of the family, and more than 53,000 phone calls and emails were made and sent to Australian politicians by supporters across the country.

The former coalition government put the family on a commercial flight from Melbourne to Sri Lanka in 2019, but an 11th hour court injunction made the flight land in Darwin.

The four were held at the Christmas Island detention centre for two years until then-immigration minister Alex Hawke moved them to community detention in Perth in mid-2021.

Following the change of government in May, interim Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers gave the family permission to return home from Perth.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting