Thursday, May 31, 2007


*** NOTE IMPORTANT : Ideally a response, even of serious interest to consider, is required by June 6 at the latest as any additional evidence needs to be submitted to the Australian Immigration officials in Pretoria by June 7.

However, the best summary is given by her nephew, now in South Dakota, USA , who first contacted the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) office by phone & after my contact by email. The nephew’s brief explanation is helpful and I reproduce it below, corrected for some grammar points or explanation points.

The woman is a Rwandan refugee, a widow, presently in Togo. She has three children.( Christian World Service, National Council of Churches in Australia, NCCA –CWS does not have details of the ages of the mother or children). She applied for resettlement for Australia via the United UNHCR and she passed the interview in September, 2006. As other refugees, she had to pass the medical examinations with her 3 children. But she is HIV positive, but all of her children are HIV negative.

The Australia immigration in South Africa (Pretoria) advised she did not meet the health requirement. The cost of treating serious health conditions over a lifetime is estimated and influences the decision as to whether to offer resettlement. Before the Pretoria High Commission staff make a final decision, they asked her to give other information that may help the immigration service to waive her medical history. When she got the message, she tried to meet a physician who wrote another report (apparently very well, and she is taking treatment).

The report is saying that she is under treatment and she is able to work (because even in Togo she works for her children), and she has sent the report.

The nephew thought that if an Australian group was able to offer to help her for the first few months once she arrives in Australia this may strengthen her case for a waiver. NCCA staff person, John Ball, was advised by an Immigration Department officer in Canberra that such Australian support would be helpful but weighing the need of the woman and her children against the medical cost issue would be the main consideration.

John Ball, NCCA-CWS staff, understands that, if accepted, the airfares of the woman and three children would be paid by the Australian Government as they are accepted under the strict refugee category, and have not had Australian proposers. On arrival they would be entitled to usual social services payments and provisions, eg Medicare. I suppose key factors to consider in offering support would be for how long a group is offering to provide support, the likelihood of needing to help buy medicines for HIV treatment ( I can’t estimate the cost of this ) and the emotional support needed for the family due to resettlement needs and this special health situation and the unpredictability of health needs. With modern HIV drug treatment and proper nutrition, etc it would be hoped that the woman would live many years.

While not having any more details than the above if anyone wishes to offer support or wishes to discuss this matter please contact John Ball on 03 9650 6811 (work- NCCA-CWS-Victoria ; or email: