Great-grandmother, 96, to be deported from Australia
Published 11/08/2011 | 08:32
A 96-year-old British great-grandmother faces deportation from Australia because the authorities say she will be a burden on the state.
Gladys Jefferson has lived with her daughter Bridget and son-in-law Paul Grigg since they moved her from the Isle of Wight last year.
Gladys Jefferson has been refused a visa to remain in the country with her only surviving family.
Mrs Jefferson lived independently in her home on the Isle of Wight until 18 months ago, when her health and memory began to fail. Faced with moving into a nursing home, she chose instead to live with her daughter, Bridget Grigg, in northern Tasmania.
Initially, Mrs Jefferson entered the country on a 12-month tourist visa. But the family's application for a contributory parent visa, which allows parents to join their children in Australia provided they can support themselves financially, was turned down last week despite Mrs Jefferson having "substantial" savings and a British pension.
"We are not asking for money from the government, we just want her to be legal," said Mrs Grigg. "The bottom line is she doesn't fit the health requirements and [the Government believe] she would be a drain on the Australian pocket.
My mother has always, always been incredibly independent. Then about 18 months ago she was talking to me on the phone one evening and she specifically asked if she could come and live with me.
Mrs Jefferson is losing her memory and is bedridden at the family home in White Hills, but will be deported unless the Australian government have a change of heart. If that happens, Mrs Grigg and her husband say they will be forced to close their business and leave their children behind in order to care for Mrs Jefferson back in the UK.
Mrs Grigg's husband, Paul, told Australia's ABC News: "Things have not been assessed properly. I've really got quite frustrated, quite angry almost, that it's got to this stage. The Australian public should know how difficult it is, because we would certainly not be the only people in this situation."
The Griggs have applied for a 12-month medical treatment visa as a stop-gap measure and have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the hope that the decision will be overturned.
A spokeswoman for Chris Bowen, the immigration minister, said it was government policy to consider medical conditions as part of a visa application, but added that the department is working with the family on ways for Mrs Jefferson to remain in the country.