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Cut the red tape and show some heart

The Australian Greens say the Gillard government should cut the red tape burdening the Immigration Department which proposes to deport a 96-year-old British woman living with her family in Tasmania.

"Gladys Jefferson should be allowed to see out her final years surrounded by her family in Tasmania," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"Her family says she is not a burden on the state because she's receiving a British pension, so she will not be adding extra costs to Australian health services.

"Her family would also be disrupted if they have to sell their business and relocate to Britain to care for her.

"The plight of Mrs Jefferson and the Griggs family is not the first time there have been barriers to family reunions and unnecessary costs imposed on families.

"Removing these barriers and making the application process fairer were among the recommendations from a June 2010 Joint Standing Committee on Migration report into the treatment of people with disabilities. More than a year later, the government has yet to respond.

"Specifically, the report recommended the Australian Government amend the criterion for assessing waivers to the Health Requirement to include recognition of the contribution made by carers within the family as an offset to health care or community services costs identified in the process.

"We urge the government show some heart to families such as Mrs Jefferson's, and streamline the process so the Immigration Minister does not have to grant the final say on her visa status."

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