Australia overturns ban on immigration for autistic daughter

Naimh Scott and her dad Adrian. Picture: OX56384 Ric Mellis

Naimh Scott and her dad Adrian. Picture: OX56384 Ric Mellis Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A 13-YEAR-OLD girl with severe autism has finally been granted the right to live in Australia with her family.

Niamh Scott, who is also deaf, was denied the right to live in the country in 2011.

But following a campaign by her parents, Australian minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen said he will exercise his “public interest power” to grant a more favourable decision to the Didcot family.

Niamh’s parents Adrian and Julie Scott said they are overjoyed that they can now join their two 29-year-old sons Stephen and Marc, who already live in Australia.

They say living in Australia will improve her quality of life.

Mr Scott, 47, said: “This means everything.

“Our family will be back together again.

“Niamh is going to have her whole family supporting her – she will be happier out there.”

Niamh loves walking but cannot talk, and when she gets agitated she sometimes bangs her head against walls.

The walls of her bedroom at the family’s three-bedroom home on the Ladygrove estate are padded because she has put her head through the plaster a number of times.

Mr Scott, a former print worker, is now Niamh’s full-time carer.

He said the better weather in Australia would mean Niamh could spend more time outside.

Mrs Scott’s parents, Ann and Ray Styants, live near Brisbane in Australia, and on the occasions the family has been out to visit, Niamh has seemed happier.

Mrs Scott, 48, who works in Tesco in Didcot, said: “It is just totally amazing – I cannot get my mind around it.”

In its rejection letter in September 2011, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship said Niamh’s condition could result in a significant cost to the Australian community.

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Therefore, the department said, it was not in the public interest to grant her a visa.

When their application to live in Australia was denied, the family launched an online petition.

More than 1,000 Australian citizens signed the petition asking the department to allow the family to move over.

In total, the petition was signed more than 1,700 times.

The Scotts have been granted a visa allowing them to travel in and out of Australia for five years while they move house.

They are now hoping to move Down Under with their 19-year-old son Tevin as soon as they have sold their Didcot home.

The letter to the Scott family from the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship said: “The visa provides a return facility which allows you to travel in and out of Australia as a permanent resident for a period of five years from the date it was granted.”

The letter adds that once the five-year permission to travel and return to Australia ceases, the Scott family will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa.

This will enable them to travel overseas and return to Australia as permanent residents.

Comments (1)

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5:22pm Sat 5 Jan 13

YesIAmAutistic says...

What was Australia afraid of? That she might live to a ripe old age before fading from society without any future repercussions?
What was Australia afraid of? That she might live to a ripe old age before fading from society without any future repercussions? YesIAmAutistic
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