Family denied stay over son's cancer

Cathy OLeary Medical Editor
Residency fight: Nora and Daniel Aziz. Picture: Megan Powell/The West Australian

Nora Aziz should be celebrating that her nine-year-old son Daniel is winning the fight against the rare cancer he had more than four years ago.

But instead she has another fight on her hands, trying to get permanent residency for her family.

Immigration authorities say Daniel fails to meet health requirements because his condition would probably result in "a significant cost to the Australian community".

The decision means Dr Aziz, her Swiss husband Thomas and their three childrenface an uncertain future.

Malaysian-born Dr Aziz did her medical training at the University of WA and internship in Perth.

She has worked for the WA Health Department for six years on a bridging visa, while seeking a skilled migrant visa that would let them stay permanently.

Before that, she lived in Switzerland for several years just as Daniel was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2009. He was treated in Switzerland and Australia and shows no sign of the cancer.

But the Department of Immigration has refused Dr Aziz's application for permanency, even though the family says Swiss authorities would pay if Daniel needed more treatment.

A letter from Assistant Minister for Immigration Michaelia Cash in June said a government medical officer had determined that costs related to Daniel's condition could be more than $40,000, which meant the application could not be accepted.

The Australian Medical Association in WA is lobbying the department to reconsider its decision, describing it as manifestly unfair.

Health Minister Kim Hames has written a letter of support calling for a review of Dr Aziz's application.