Temporary relief for family

Singh family - Gagandeep, young Jarro and Phoebe. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Stefan Bradley

Gagandeep Singh has been granted another temporary visa, allowing him to stay in Australia with his family.

The Gippsland Times last month broke the story of Gagandeep facing deportation to India, separating him from his wife Phoebe and their three-year-old son Jarro, who are based in Sale.

The family has received a letter of support from the Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, for a Ministerial Intervention.

The family’s immigration lawyer, Joseph Italiano, said that Gagandeep was granted a bridging visa.

“I made a repeat request to Minister Hawke on May 10, 2022 with substantial and significant new facts not before him in the first request made almost three years ago,” Mr Italiano said.

“Gagandeep’s visa expired on May 11, 2022. On May 11, he was granted a month Bridging Visa E on departure arrangements with work rights until the Ministerial Intervention Unit decides if it complies with the Minister’s Guidelines to refer to him.”

Gagandeep is now once again living in Australia on a bridging visa, but the Immigration Minister can give him a permanent partner visa by stroke of a pen. It’s not a matter before the courts.

Phoebe said that on Wednesday, May 11, Home Affairs called Gagandeep, stating his rights and entitlements on the visa.

He cannot leave Australia and must report to Immigration every month, but he is allowed to work.

“Gagandeep was relieved, but also has a lot of uncertainty feeling around it as we do not know when a decision will be made,” Phoebe said.

“It’s a temporary visa until the minister makes up his mind. Could be a week, could be three years, we have no idea. A small win, but we are happy and will continue the fight.”

Since the Gippsland Times’ story, the online petition to keep the family together went from 466 signatures to 1406 at the time of writing.

The family have also been interviewed by ABC Gippsland, Nine News and will soon be featured on A Current Affair.

“There was some confusion with some members of the public believing he was illegal in Australia, so this needs to be clarified,” Phoebe said.

“Gagandeep has always been legal in this country, he’s never broken the immigration laws at all.”

The minister can give or deny Gagandeep a visa, and does not have to give a reason either way.

On May 3, Phoebe told ABC Gippsland Breakfast program host Mim Hook she was feeling anxious and was surprised that the minister had not given Gagandeep a permanent visa.

“I didn’t think this would happen to us. You hear about this stuff all the time and it’s not uncommon,” she said.

“But I thought that given we’ve been together for 10 years, have a child together, there’s no criminal history from either of us, so it’s very shocking.

“We want to let the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke know that this situation hasn’t been looked at properly.”

Mr Italiano said the family should be allowed to stick together.

“The minister’s failure to intervene is regrettable,” he said.

The petition can be signed at change.org/p/immigration-minister-let-gagandeep-stay-with-his-family

[Original publication date: Tuesday May 17]