Let me tell you the stories of Phillip and Amy Choi.
Phillip is 20 years old. His sister Amy is 18, and she was born on the Gold Coast. They have lived in Australia for the past 13 and 11 years, respectively.
The siblings both graduated with OP 1s (for all non-Queenslanders out there: that’s as smart as you can get). Phillip was offered an academic scholarship to study at the University of Queensland and he was school captain of his high school. They both are regular volunteers with non-profit organisations.
In other words, Phillip and Amy are model Australians. They deserve gold stars or some fabulous medal.
Instead, they face deportation in 22 days.
It’s a long and complicated story to how Phillip and Amy ended up in this situation.
As I said, Amy was born on the Gold Coast in 1997. In 1998, the family moved to South Korea until 2005, eventually returning to Australia on a Business visa.
In 2009, the family applied for permanent residency in Australia, and by March the following year, their application for this visa was refused. The Migration Review Tribunal proceeded to affirm this decision in 2012.
By April of the same year, the Choi family lodged a Ministerial Intervention request to the then Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen “on the basis that Amy and Phil had integrated so well into Australia” and it’s where they called home.
Watch Phillip and Amy Choi’s plea to the current Minister to stay. (Post continues after video.)
By the following year, the minister changed to Brendan O’Connor where he was considering granting the family a permanent residency subject to health, character, police checks and signing the Australian Values Statement.
After two years of waiting, and in the same time the Immigration Minister changing three times, the family finally received a response to their application.
The letter addressed to the family regarding their 2013 assessment for permanent residency in Australia had been, at the very last minute, changed. Instead, they had been ‘granted’ six month visitor visas, expiring on the 22nd December 2015.
After two years of waiting, of a ridiculous number of ministerial changes, of a change of Government, after all that time, they were denied.
There was little reason provided why their application for permanent residency was denied, other that it was in the ‘public interest’.
It was in the ‘public interest’ to essentially deport Phillip and Amy from Australia.
After seeking representation from their local MP, the family eventually heard back from the former assistant minister for Immigration (yet another ministerial change), Michaelia Cash.