ROCKHAMPTON’S Ryan Boswood is frustrated he could have to wait another two years to be reunited with his Egyptian wife.
Mr Boswood, 31, says Elhan Gaber’s visa application was denied in August last year and he’s been told authorities may not start assessing her appeal until February 2011.
It could take a year from then to assess.
Mr Boswood says he has nothing against asylum seekers but has aired concerns about government policy, saying it wasn’t right his wife had to wait so long to be assessed, while those in detention centres were checked in a far shorter timeframe.
“I am a Labor voter and I will vote Labor again, but I think this policy is wrong,” Ryan said.
“I don’t want to see other people going through what we are.
“This time period is bordering on ridiculous and certainly not reasonable.”
He produced a southern media report which said ASIO had had to divert resources from other visa categories, such as onshore migrants, to deal with the number of asylum seekers.
“I honestly feel that undocumented asylum seekers are treated better than my wife, who went about applying for a visa and then lodged an appeal through legitimate avenues by paying fees, filling in forms and supplying 48 supporting documents,” Mr Boswood said.
He said his wife’s visa application was rejected on the grounds that their relationship was not believed to be genuine and continuing.
Authorities say the relationship was too brief and the couple didn’t communicate – points Mr Boswood strongly contests.
He said he met his wife when a friend of his married her sister in February 2008.
They married in June 2009.
In August he came back to Australia for work purposes. It took a couple of months for the couple to get the visa application prepared. This was rejected in December.
Mr Boswood said he’d spent thousands of dollars paying for the appeal with the Migration Review Tribunal and getting the documentary evidence to support his claim.
“I’ve submitted 485 pages of information to the Migration Review Tribunal,” he said.
He said his wife couldn’t believe what was happening.
“What she sees is us waiting, waiting, waiting,” he said. “We just want to be together. If this doesn’t happen, I will have to go back there.
“It’s a nightmare; our lives are on hold. At this stage we should be thinking about having children and the rest of our lives.”
A spokesperson for the Migration Review Tribunal said tribunals were required to give priority to cases involving persons held in immigration detention under the Migration Act 1958.
“Bridging visa cases, however, comprise only about 120 of the more than 6000 cases that the Migration Review Tribunal has decided this financial year,” the spokesperson said.
“Overall less than 5% of Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal cases involve persons in immigration detention, noting that the Tribunals do not have any jurisdiction in relation to the overwhelming majority of persons who arrive by boat.”
The spokesperson referred The Morning Bulletin to the caseload management guideline (see accompany fact box).
“These rules set out a range of circumstances in which cases are given priority over other similar cases, including special circumstances of a compassionate and compelling nature.”
Moving on migration
- Bridging visa (detention) cases – seven working days from lodgement to decision;
- Protection visa cases – 90 calendar days from receipt of the Department’s documents to decision;
- MRT visa cancellation cases – 150 calendar days from lodgement to decision (and 90 calendar days from constitution to decision);
- All other MRT cases – 350 calendar days from lodgement to decision (and 150 calendar days from constitution to decision).
- The Tribunals aim to decide at least 70% of cases within these time standards.