The Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) had a positive outcome for an Afghan Hazaral client with a long-running Refugee Family Reunion matter. The client was really put through the ringer having been affected by new policies. The client arrived by boat in 2009 and was granted a Permanent Protection Visa in November that year.
RAILS then assisted with lodging a Split Family Humanitarian Visa when the changes came into place, meaning that anyone arriving by boat must first apply for a Family Visa and pay the substantial Visa Application Charge (VAC).
The client was able to lodge his Partner Visa and pay for VAC before the policy changed to include charges for each additional applicant. This was particularly important as there were nine other applicants; the mother and eight children.
A few months after his visa was lodged he lost his son, possibly to a bomb blast targeted at Hazaras in Quetta. Then, in December 2013, things were made more difficult with a policy change that introduced 'Direction 62', making him, as a boat arrival, the lowest priority for processing family member applications until he is granted Citizenship. Luckily he was able to lodge his Citizenship Application before the current freeze on applications lodged by irregular maritime arrivals commenced.
In September 2014, his citizenship was granted and his family’s application began to be processed, again.
It took 2 years and 5 months, waiting for them to be allocated and then there were identity and health issues that arose. The client was very anxious during this time and suffered from depression. Fortunately, he was able to visit his family during this process.
Sometimes it was hard to motivate him to fulfil the requests, though the visas have now been granted and the client is overjoyed.