Deport battle is ‘mental torture’

Sunbury family Sukhdeep Kaur, Ravneet Kaur and Jaswinder Singh (Damjan Janevski). 340494_01

Zoe Moffatt

A Sunbury family facing deportation has described the ongoing battle to stay in Australia as “mental torture,” which is now limiting them from visiting sick family members overseas.

The Kaur and Singh family are no strangers to fighting tooth and nail to remain in the country they now call home, but for mother Sukhdeep Kaur, the battle is taking its toll.

“I’m not feeling good. I’m going through a lot of mental stress now,” she said. “I can’t sleep properly and I’ve started having panic attacks.

“It’s a mental torture, they’re not giving us the decision. [I don’t know] why, we didn’t do anything wrong here.”

Both Sukhdeep and her husband Jaswinder Singh have been granted multiple visa exemptions since the application was submitted in June 2023.

They have also gained more than 22,000 signatures on their petition to remain in the country, which was launched in December 2022.

The family said they are not allowed to travel overseas due to it having negative implications on the ministerial intervention application, as per advice from their immigration lawyers.

With her mother living out of the country, Sukhdeep hasn’t seen her in about six years and is still not able to visit despite her mother having breast cancer and going through chemotherapy.

“I’m really feeling very low, and because of this [visa] crisis I didn’t go back to see her,” she said.

“Every day we are hoping for any news from the minister but they are doing nothing. My mental stress is increasing.”

Daughter Ravneet Kaur, who is legally allowed to reside in Australia but has said she will leave Australia if her parents are deported, has said the whole situation is affecting her parents’ health.

“[My nan] is not coping well with chemotherapy and this has taken a further toll on my parents’ mental health,” Ravneet said.

“Even after coming out publicly with a lot of courage my parents are only given extensions.

“We understand that the minister is a very busy man and has a lot on his plate and the ministerial intervention applications don’t have a timeline.

“But it’s disheartening to see other ministerial intervention cases that publicly came out after we got a decision on their applications.

“Giving constant visa extensions doesn’t help the situation at all and is not the solution or a just outcome to the injustice that my parents have been through for the last nine years.”

A federal government spokesperson said “as is longstanding practice, the minister is unable to comment on individual cases.”

Hawke MP Sam Rae also said he doesn’t “comment on the specifics of individual cases due to privacy considerations.”