By Eden Hynninen
After facing imminent deportation, Seymour’s Christine and Tony Hyde, and son Darragh, can remain living Australia after being given a ministerial reprieve.
Three-year-old Darragh had previously been classified by the Federal Government as a “burden” on the health system for having Cystic Fibrosis.
After a four-year battle with immigration, the Irish family received the welcomed news from a journalist who was the first tell the family on Friday.
“The journalist rang me and said the decision had come through and they wanted me to clarify it, but I had no idea,” Ms Hyde said.
“So we rang our lawyer who later confirmed we just received our permanent residency.
“I lost it, I tried to ring Tony but couldn’t get through because he was working. His company had a number for emergencies so I called it and told him to come home.
“It’s taken some time to sink in. Even now, it’s done but is it done?
“I don’t even know what to do, we’ve had four years of limbo and worry and now its drama free. I don’t even know what that life is like anymore.”
The family thanked the community and members of parliament who have supported them through the lengthy process.
“We’re just amazed by the support we’ve received and are really grateful,” she said.
“We were down the supermarket yesterday and so many people came up to us saying they are so delighted. The Seymour community are wonderful and have always stopped by to check in on us.”
Mr Hyde said he had received messages from people apologising for what they had to go through.
“Damian Drum and Rob Mitchell were great in this process, Drum came to visit us,” he said.
The couple first applied for permanent residency in 2015 but a mandatory medical assessment of Darragh confirming he had Cystic Fibrosis threw their plans into chaos.
Ms Hyde said a special medication had changed Darragh’s life in the past 18 months, meaning less mucus in his lungs, which made him less prone to infections.
“We provided a good honest letter from a specialist that actually looked at him – no medical officer from the government has ever looked at Darragh,” she said.
“We get this fantastic, glowing letter saying how well he is and then the government contradict them and deny the application. Three times we had to get the same letter written before they would change their mind.”
The Hyde’s said they understood why the government had a hard stance on immigration, but believe the criteria should change.
“When we did apply back then we got a first round invitation. It was like a kick in the teeth when they’re like ‘hey come, we want you type of people and your skill, we need it’ and then all of a sudden they’re like ‘you’ve got a sick child we don’t want you anymore’,” Mr Hyde said.
“If you’ve applied and are eligible for permanent residency before having a child and you’re pregnant throughout that time while you wait, they shouldn’t include the unborn child – that’s unfair.
“Who’s to say that while we submit an application that one of us gets sick? You don’t know what’s around the corner – four years is a long time, something could happen to anyone.”
They also noted the lengthy delay in making a decision, and the expense.
“They knew about this for four years – they all said you need to go through the process. It needs to be faster, we’ve spent over $20,000 on expenses,” Mr Hyde said.