They moved to Queanbeyan for work and for the town’s peaceful setting in late 2014. Kinley’s parents Jangchu and Tshering were both nurses in Bhutan. Kinley’s father now works two jobs, in aged care and as a cleaner.
«We work hard to stay in Australia and I work hard to support my son,» he said.
Kinley and his brother Tenzin, 17, have been attending Queanbeyan High School. Kinley uses sign language to communicate.
Mr Randall said the family’s application for permanent residency had been knocked back, most recently by the Administration Appeals Tribunal last month.
Their only hope now was a direct appeal to the minister or else face deportation back to Bhutan.
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said it did not comment on individual cases. But the department did say, in general, prospective residents had to meet medical requirements and an objective assessment was undertaken to determine if a condition was likely to result in «significant costs to the Australian community or prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to services in short supply».
Mr Randall said he understood the family’s residency had been refused because of Kinley’s hearing loss and the implication he would be a drain on the system.
The family’s current visa runs out in mid-April.
«I can’t deny that [Kinley] needs additional support but against that, the family have been consistent wage earners and taxpayers,» Mr Randall said.
«His brother is now in year 11 and will become a taxpayer in this country. They’re model citizens.»
The minister was the family’s last resort.
«If they fail to get permanent residency under special consideration, they’re not going to sneak away and hide and avoid it. They are law abiding people and will leave the country, albeit very sadly,» Mr Randall said.
«It will be Australia’s loss. They are hard-working, look after their children very, very well. They’re caring. They are working below their station because their qualifications are not recognised here. They are nurses but it’s very difficult to upgrade your qualifications in Australia with English as a second language.»
Mr Randall said because Kinley did not meet the requirements of permanent residency, all of the family was refused it.
«It’s one out, all out. If one doesn’t meet the medical requirements, then no one is eligible, it’s the nature of the deadline,» he said.
The spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said visas for Australia required applicants to meet the migration health requirement set out in migration law.
«The health requirement is not condition-specific and the assessment is undertaken individually for each applicant based on their condition and level of severity,» the spokesperson said.
«It is an objective assessment to determine whether the care of the individual during their stay in Australia would likely result in significant costs to the Australian community or prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to services in short supply.»
The spokesperson for the department said ministerial intervention was «not an extension of the visa process».
«A person is able to request intervention, however the minister cannot be compelled to exercise his powers and he is not required to explain his decisions on any case. What is or is not in the public interest is entirely a matter for the minister considering each case on its own merits,» a statement read.
Megan Doherty is a reporter for The Canberra Times