After six years in limbo, a father-of-one has been granted a new visa which he hopes will pave the way for him to stay in regional Victoria permanently, after the new immigration minister intervened in his case.
- Mr Singh arrived in Australia in 2009 on a student visa and married his wife Phoebe Singh in 2015
- His student visa expired in 2016, and he has since been living on month-to-month bridging visas
- Mr Singh previously owned a small transport company with five trucks, but he sold them when he was faced with deportation
When Indian expat Gagandeep Singh heard the news from his immigration lawyer, he said he broke into tears.
He has been granted a visitor visa (subclass 600) which will allow him to stay in Australia while he applies for a substantive visa in a bid to stay permanently.
Mr Singh arrived in Australia in 2009 on a student visa and married his wife Phoebe Singh in 2015.
Mr Singh’s student visa expired in 2016, and he has since been living on month-to-month bridging visas.
Department of Home Affairs data shows the number of people living in Australia on bridging visas has nearly doubled since 2019 to 354,171 people in May this year.
Aged care worker and wife Phoebe Singh said the change of federal government had sparked action on Mr Singh’s case.
“When I knew that Labor got in, I rang [the federal Immigration Minister] Andrew Giles’ office multiple times in the week, and everyone in the office seemed extremely interested,” she said.
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said the department could not comment on individual cases.
But the spokesperson said the minister had power under the Migration Act 1958 to grant visas.
“The minister only intervenes in a relatively small number of cases which present unique and exceptional circumstances, and where the Minister considers that it is in the public interest to do so. What is in the public interest is for the Minister to determine,” the spokesperson said.
Looking forward to the future
Mr Singh previously owned a small transport company with five trucks, but he sold them when he was faced with deportation.
“I have to start back again now, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Ms Singh said she was excited to finally meet her husband’s extended family.
Under the conditions of his bridging visas, Mr Singh was not allowed to travel overseas.
“I’ve got a big family, 50 members in my family,” Mr Singh said.
Their son, Jarro, four, told ABC Gippsland’s Breakfast show he was relieved his dad would stay in the country.
Editor’s note 19/07/2022: This story has been amended after an earlier version incorrectly stated that Mr Singh had been granted permanent residency.