Friday, October 31, 2008

Doctor who can't get permanent residency because his son has Down syndrome should be allowed to stay, Australian Health Minister says

From The Australian. Another story in The Herald Sun explains the reaction from disability groups in Australia.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says Australia needs doctors like Bernhard Moeller, a German-born physician who has been denied permanent residency because his son has Down syndrome (pictured).

Ms Roxon said she would talk to Immigration Minister Chris Evans about the circumstances of Dr Moeller and his family, who moved to Horsham in central west Victoria two years ago to help fill a doctor shortage.

Dr Moeller has a temporary 457 visa that is valid until 2010, but the Immigration Department has rejected his application for permanent residency because his youngest son, Lukas, did not meet the health requirement.

Ms Roxon said the Hovernment valued the contribution made by overseas-trained doctors, particularly those who worked in Australia's rural and regional communities.

"I will be talking to the immigration minister, but my understanding is that a process needs to be undertaken first and that there is a valid reason for this doctor and his family to be eligible to stay here in Australia providing those services,'' Ms Roxon said in Melbourne Oct. 31.

"As a government we understand the importance of having doctors working in our rural and regional communities and we support them in many ways and continue to do this.

"But for this particular case, it's a matter I will raise with the immigration minister, but I understand that those court processes need to be undertaken first.''

Ms Roxon said the Government had made it clear that it supported and encouraged doctors to work in rural and regional communities.

Dr Moeller intends to appeal the decision to the Migration Review Tribunal.