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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Page: 13819

Mr SOMLYAY (Fairfax) (09:49): Today I raise the plight of Adam Gray. I have come to know Adam and his family over several years. He is a young man living in limbo as his future seemingly becomes lost in the bureaucracy of our immigration system. It is not the fault of immigration officials, who have bent over backwards to help. We are all focused on asylum seekers and have lost sight of other problems in the system. For Adam and his family, their immigration experience has been a nightmare. Adam is the second son of British-born Australian parents, Sue and Paul. In fact, the father, Paul, first came to this country in the 1950s as a 10-pound Pom. Ben, Adam's older brother, is also Australian by birth, but Adam is not. He was born in the UK while his father was on transfer there with the London branch of the Bank of New South Wales. Since returning to Australia in 2006, Adam and his parents have explored what seems every conceivable option to have Adam granted permanent Australian residency. His first approach was in 2007 through the last remaining relative visa process but, because Adam's brother, who is an Australian citizen and born in Australia, is working abroad in London, this immigration door was closed.

For the past five years, Adam has been sincere in his attempts to become a permanent citizen. He successfully completed a trade qualification and a bricklaying apprenticeship in line with the skilled migration pathway. A change of immigration rules meant that Adam was and is still ineligible. Why? Because Adam has yet to pass the English proficiency test—yes, the same Adam who was born to English-speaking parents, educated in England in English-speaking schools and who speaks no other language but English. In 2012, Adam's efforts to live in Australia with his family remain thwarted. His visa applications continue to be stonewalled, and he is about to embark on an appeal process. For very good reason, Australia has a rigorous immigration system in place. I do not seek to devalue its importance or flout well-meaning rules, but our system is unreasonably penalising Adam and his family. I know that it is impossible to legislate to cover each anomaly in the system. But surely our immigration laws should give the minister a discretion so that he or she can exercise common sense in cases like Adam's.