A family who were due to be deported to the UK after living in Australia for almost a decade have been granted a last-minute reprieve to stay in the country – but only for a few weeks.
They were due to fly back to Britain at 10pm on Wednesday but never boarded the plane.
The Greens moved to Australia in 2012 after 44-year-old electrical expert Mark Green was snapped up by a solar installation company.
With wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, who was just nine when they arrived, the family started a new life in Adelaide.
The electrician said he made a concerted effort to obtain permanent residency and extend his existing visa, but was repeatedly thwarted when the companies he worked for either went bankrupt or lied about the progress they had made on his immigration papers.
Mr Green is currently on a bridging visa which was due to expire. It looked like they were exhausted all possibilities and were forced to leave their home and leave for Scotland on Wednesday.
But the intervention of South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas appears to have allowed the Greens to delay the immigration sentence.
The Prime Minister called Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, who said on Wednesday night thousandhe will extend the family’s visa, but only for a monthreports The Australian.
Mr Giles said this was done so the family could consult with lawyers to see if they had grounds to remain in Australia and under what circumstances.
The Greens intend to argue that their situation is sufficiently similar to that of the Murugappans, a Sri Lankan family held on Christmas Island before being allowed to return to Biloela to live permanently, that they should be allowed to stay.
“If not, the minister should explain how he can grant permanent residency to a Sri Lankan couple who entered the country illegally and their two young children, but refuse the same permit to a family who entered the country legally and pay own, including taxes, over the past decade,” said Frank Pangala, a top member of the SA Legislative Council who helped the Greens.
“The Greens have a great character and meet all the requirements of people who want to get permanent residence in this country.
“They were never a burden on the taxpayers.”
Mr Pangello said he suspected the immigration minister had not seen the details of the case and now needed to fully examine it before the next deportation deadline in a month.
Mr Green said the family was “desperate to stay in Australia”, where they have made a home for the past decade and “where we have built a future for ourselves”.
He added that the family had no home in Scotland and his UK qualifications had been invalidated by his extended stay in Australia. They will also have to leave behind their beloved family dog due to the high cost of transporting it to Europe.
Mr Green said he had been let down seven times by companies who started the process to allow him to stay in Australia and then backed out.
“Most of them (solar companies) have closed because of warranty issues – they don’t want to guarantee the product,” Mr Green said. Actual business.
“It ends up costing them money, so they close up shop and start their company under a different name.”
Each time, Mr Green was forced to start his three-year visa – which cost thousands of dollars – from scratch, despite the fact that the businesses failed through no fault of his own.
“The government has a responsibility to protect me as a foreign worker who was invited to come to Australia to work and was let down by an Australian company,” he said.
2GB radio host Ben Fordham also compared the case to the Sri Lankan Murugappan family.
“The double standards here should not be ignored – the minister is willing to show compassion if there is enough publicity to make him look like a hero.
“He’s stepping in to help one family but allow another to be kicked out of Australia. It exposes the hypocrisy of the federal government and politics in general.”