Discrimination against people with disability who apply for Australian Permanent Residency


31 August 2015

The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) disapproves of aspects of Australia’s migration policy which explicitly discriminates against people who live with medical conditions and disabilities. The ACDA believes that the way in which people with disability are assessed when applying for Australian permanent residency is evidence of this ableism.

People who wish to migrate to Australia are currently subject to the health requirement assessment as outlined in the Migration Act 1958. The Migration Act, however, is exempt from the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. This has a severe impact on people with disability as it results in ‘disability’ being viewed, and assessed, through a medical lens. Consequently, people with disability are routinely denied Australian permanent residency because of the perceived cost that has been attributed to their disability or impairment.

“NEDA, is aware of countless cases where people with a disability, or individuals with a family member living with disability, have had their visa application rejected because they failed to meet the health requirements”, said National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) President Suresh Rajan. “Many of these people have been working, paying taxes or full university fees, and contributing greatly to our multicultural community for a number of years, only to be kicked out of the country because their disability and “worth” is reduced to a percentage and measured by an economic formula. They are deemed a potential cost to the Australian community.”

NEDA in reluctant to comment on individual cases, however does state that a number of their constituents are desperate and may soon be forced to leave the country. One recent example of this is the case of Dr Siyat Abdi. Details of his case were covered in the SBS report that can be accessed here. (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/08/18/blind-kenyan-father-ordered-leave-australia).

These discriminatory policies not only contradict Australia’s commitment to human rights legislation, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but they also have a profound impact on people and families who have been living in our communities, working and contributing to a diverse Australia, all of whom call Australia home”, said Mr Dwayne Cranfield, NEDA CEO.

The ACDA will be engaging with relevant ministers and the Government in regards to this issue, and will be strongly advocating for legislative change that promotes a more inclusive and fair process, and eliminates the discrimination against people with disability within Australian migration policy.

Suresh Rajan, NEDA – 0413 436 001;