Jennie Obra Tutaan, mother of eight year-old Neil Andre, has finally been granted a permanent residency visa. Neil Andre, diagnosed with severe autism, is son of an Australian citizen and was granted Australian Citizenship by descent. The father did not live up to his promise to sponsor her and the still-to-be-born child on a partner visa, and supported the child from the time he was born in 2008 until December 2009 only.
His mother Jennie came to Australia via a sponsor for temporary visa, but was not so lucky when her application for permanent residency was refused by the Department of Immigration. She appealed the decision, but the Tribunal upheld its refusal and referred her to the Ministerial Intervention Unit. The Minister sent a letter to inform her that he is not intervening in her case. She was on the brink of getting deported by end of June 2017 once her visa expires.
This would either separate the two, or force Neil Andre to go back to the Philippines with Jennie, causing him to lose his health privileges in Australia.
“I’m overwhelmed and very happy hearing your support. Words are not enough to extend my gratitude,” she told The Philippine Times of her reaction about the visa grant.
Jennie said she still could not believe that they are now permanent residents of Australia. “Two weeks ago, I was distressed and felt hopeless when I received a letter from the immigration stating that the Minister won’t intervene in my case and that I need to depart the country in two weeks time. I didn’t know what to do. Bridges Immigration Law Solutions offered me a hand and made a great miracle that will change my and my autistic son’s lives. I am given the chance to live permanently in the country,” she recalls.
In the course of her appeal, a petition was started by EM Tanag at change.org. Part of the petition read, “We are appealing to Minister Peter Dutton to please show compassion to this mother and child. Please do not tear this family apart.” It was signed by 3,197 supporters.