“Help change the Immigration Minister’s mind! Let me stay in Australia with my family.”

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My name is Linda Oppel.  I am in desperate need of your help. I am asking the Minister for Immigration to let me stay in Australia with my family.

 I moved here from South Africa in 2012 with my two kids, after losing my husband of 30 years to cancer.

 My only family is my sister Monica.  She moved to Perth over a decade ago and became an Australian citizen. Monica tried to sponsor me for a Remaining Relative Visa. We lost both of our parents in a car accident when we were young children.  We have no one else, except each other and children of our own.

 But the immigration department refused my visa application.  The reason why?  Because the migration law says that Monica and I aren’t related to each other!!  We were told that the problem is that when we were placed in foster care in the 1970’s after our parents died, I was “adopted” out at the age of 12 years old.  Because of that adoption,which only lasted 5 years, the migration law says that Monica isn’t my sister anymore.  We just couldn’t believe it.  It is so absurd!

 In 2014 I wrote to the Minister for Immigration to ask him to use his discretion to intervene in the decision to refuse my visa.  On the immigration website, it says that the Minister can intervene in cases where the law has unfair or unintended consequences.  So I explained my story to him in a long submission, and how unfair it was that the operation of the migration law in my case leads to a conclusion that Monica and I are not sisters.  We even provided the Minister with DNA test results, to avoid any doubt!

 Last week, two and a half years later after I wrote my submission, I received a one-line response from the Assistant Minister for Immigration which said that my case was “not in the public interest” and I would need to leave Australia at the end of my bridging visa (23 June 2017).  This letter came after I had been asked by immigration to do a health examination and provide all sorts of police checks.  I thought this must have been a mistake.  How could this happen??  I am devastated.  Not only is it heartless, it doesn’t even make any sense.

 There is where I sincerely need your help.  I have been told that the Minister has not looked at my case.  It was the Assistant Minister, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, who made the decision.  Can you please sign my petition to ask the Hon Peter Dutton MP to consider my case and let me stay?

 When we moved to Australia, I sold the family house and all our belongings.  Absolutely everything.  I left nothing behind and embraced Australia as my new home.  I have nothing and no one to go back to in South Africa. And I no longer have any savings, because the immigration department removed my right to work in 2014, after I made my submission to the Minister.  I was forced to quit my job and I have suffered the humiliation and ongoing stress of relying on my sister & my children for financial help all this time.

 I have dedicated the last 5 years of my life to building my future here in Australia.  I have made many friends.  My children are adults now, my son and his partner recently gave me the biggest blessing any parent can hope for – and that is to be a grandmother to a beautiful baby boy!  They even named him after my husband Leon.  We all live together in a small unit and he fills my heart with joy every day.  I can’t fathom the thought of leaving him, and my family, behind.

 I know that I sound like I am asking for sympathy.  I am not.  I am asking for a fair go.  My sister and I suffered the tragedy of losing both of our parents when we were just kids.  The Australian government is now relying on that tragedy to refuse me a visa that I would have otherwise been entitled to.  It is not fair.  And it is surely not what was intended by the people who wrote the migration laws? I have lived here long enough to know that this outcome goes against the values held by every decent Australian.  Please sign my petition to show that you agree.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.