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Rasa finally unites with his wife and daughter after 17 years

Saturday, December 16 2023

18 months ago, I wrote about Rasa’s* relief on hearing the Federal Government’s reform commitment, for people on temporary protection, like him, to convert to permanency. Finally, after more than a decade-long fight for justice.

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In 2009, Rasa, a Sri Lankan Tamil man, arrived in Australia, fleeing unrelenting brutal violence at the hands of authorities. He had sought protection and freedom in Australia only to be detained for more than six years.

In 2015 he was finally freed and eventually granted a temporary protection visa – a visa imposing a permanent bar on reuniting with his wife, Priya and 14-year-old daughter, Srisha, still stuck in danger in his homeland. At best, Rasa was only able to get another temporary protection visa every three years for the rest of his life.

This was like another form of imprisonment for Rasa – consigning him to life and hopes on hold indefinitely in the Australian community. “This is not a life”, he told us.

Despite this, Rasa quickly found employment and worked strenuously – day and night – to build a future for his wife and daughter.

In June this year, Rasa – like thousands of other TPV holders – was at last granted permanency. He was overjoyed. Not only had he secured a safe future but, ultimately, the right to sponsor his wife and daughter to join him.

With the grant of permanency, we immediately provided legal help with his family reunion application, which was granted within weeks of lodgement. On hearing this news, all that Rasa could say was, “This is a life”.

I’m delighted to let you know that, in October, Rasa, Priya and Srisha – now aged 20 – were able to embrace at Melbourne Airport. After 17 years of forced separation. All are now Australian residents.

On arrival, the family were overwhelmed with profound relief that they could rebuild their lives – together – here in safety, with hope and dignity.

Our profound thanks to the many of you who have already donated to our End of Year Appeal.

If you haven’t already, please consider giving to our End Year Appeal.

With my sincere thanks,

David Manne
Refugee Legal
Executive Director & Principal Solicitor

* Names and certain details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

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