Alice’s story

Alice’s story
31st July, 2018

Alice grew up in a country where there was ongoing civil war. Her parents were murdered when she was four years old and she was raised by her uncle. When Alice was 11 years old, a stranger raped her and she fell pregnant. She was too afraid to tell her uncle that she was pregnant. He was in the process of applying for Alice and the rest of his family to come to Australia on a humanitarian visa. Alice knew he would remove her from the application if he learned she was pregnant. Alice’s oldest sister Lizzie, who was married and had a young daughter, agreed to help Alice hide her pregnancy.

In 2009, Alice gave birth to her son David. Not long after, Alice discovered that she would be moving to Australia on a permanent humanitarian visa. Alice’s sister Lizzie agreed to look after David until Alice was in a position to apply for David to move to Australia.

In early 2016, Alice arrived at our Lakemba Advice Bureau with one simple request. She wanted us to help her bring David to Australia on a Child visa. She couldn’t afford to engage a lawyer to help her with the application as she was only working a few hours a week and was sending almost all her earnings overseas to support Lizzie and David.

We agreed to help Alice with David’s Child visa application, as we knew it would be very complex. Before we could even lodge the application, we needed to help Alice obtain her identity documents and David’s birth certificate from her home country.We then lodged the Child visa application and helped Alice apply for a passport for David.

We faced many hurdles during the application process. Approximately one year after we lodged the application, the Department requested further information about David’s father. The Department wanted to know why David’s father had not been included on his birth certificate. The Department also wanted to know why Alice had never disclosed in her humanitarian visa application that she had a son. We had to prepare detailed submissions explaining how Alice fell pregnant with David, why she would never be able to locate David’s father and the reasons why she didn’t include David in her humanitarian visa application.

A few months later, the Department requested a DNA test to prove that Alice was David’s biological mother. It took many months for the DNA lab to obtain David’s sample from overseas.

About six months after we provided the Department with the DNA results, the Department requested further evidence that David’s father could not be located. The Department also requested evidence that David had no other legal guardians in his home country and evidence that the laws in his home country allowed him to relocate to Australia. We were required to research the legislation in David’s home country to prove that he was allowed to relocate to Australia. We also advised Alice that her sister Lizzie would need to prepare a statutory declaration confirming that she consented to him moving to Australia.

Three months later, the Department required copies of Lizzie’s identity documents to prove she was Alice’s biological sister. Unfortunately, Lizzie’s identity documents had been lost during the civil war and she had never been able to obtain new copies. We were required to prepare detail submissions to the Department about this issue. By this stage, Alice was becoming nervous that the Department would refuse to grant David a Child visa.

We heard nothing from the Department for months. Then, in early July 2018 the Department confirmed that David had been granted a Child visa. Alice burst into tears when we gave her the news. The next day, Alice started arranging flights for David, who would be travelling to Australia as an unaccompanied minor.

David, who is almost 10 years old, will be arriving in Australia in a few weeks. He hasn’t seen his mother since he was a baby. We wish them both all the very best.

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