“This decision allows three members of the family to reside in the Perth community on bridging visas while the youngest child’s medical care, and the family’s legal matters, are ongoing. The fourth family member’s visa status is unchanged,” Hawke declared in a statement.
“The family will continue to have access to health care, support services, housing and schooling in the Perth community.”
And while news of their bridging visas is a beacon of hope for the family, who are in search of a new life in Australia to avoid persecution in Sri Lanka, many are questioning why Tharnicaa wasn’t granted a visa as well, and what it could mean for her family’s fate if she is to remain in a community detention centre.
“Today’s news is another huge step in the long journey home for Priya and her family, but there still is no certain pathway home to Bilo,” Angela Fredericks, family friend and spokesperson for the #HomeToBilo organisation, revealed in a statement.
“While we welcome Priya, Nades, and Kopika being granted bridging visas, we wonder what precisely is the Minister’s objective in denying little Tharni one,” she wrote. “This family must stay together, and they need to be back in Biloela as soon as humanly possible,”
“We know just how many Australians hold this family in their hearts, and have helped get them to this moment today. Now, we need Mr Morrison and Mr Hawke to finally acknowledge that widespread support and end this long, painful saga.”
Priya and her husband Nades fled Tamil as refugees, where they met and married in Australia. Since then, they became beloved members of the regional community of Biloela, where they were once residing. While awaiting a ruling on their aslyum status, they welcomed their two daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, however, their appeal was rejected and were sent to Christmas Island.
While their bridging visas offer the family piece of mind to live peacefully and support their family, the work won’t be over until they’ve been granted permission to return to their Biloela community without fear of deportation.