An English policeman and his family are devastated after being told they cannot move to South Australia because his stepdaughter, Sarah, is autistic.
London Metropolitan Police sergeant Peter Threlfall is outraged at the decision, which was made despite his daughter Sarah, 25, having two jobs and volunteering with the Scout and Guide movement. She had planned to study hairdressing when they arrived here.
Mr Threlfall was preparing to move his wife and family to South Australia but was told in December they had been denied visas under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
He had been offered a job as a constable at Ceduna, on the state's West Coast, and was due to start work as soon as his visa was approved.
Mr Threlfall has spent the past few months trying to reverse the decision but his family is now resigned to staying in the UK.
The refusal to let the Threlfalls into the country was based on the presumption his step-daughter Sarah's condition would place a burden on healthcare and community services in Australia.
Mr Threlfall said Sarah worked part-time as both a cleaner and a store assistant. His family was not seeking any assistance for Sarah and were shattered that they could no longer move to Australia.
He said he had spent about six months and $8000 going through the recruitment process and had missed out on career advancement in London because he had been focused on the move.
"Sarah is not a drain on UK resources and would not have been on Australia," he said.
An Immigration Department spokesman confirmed Mr Threlfall and his family had applied for visas. His daughter had not met the legislated health requirement, which was partly to restrict public expenditure on healthcare and community services.
There were no legal grounds for a health waiver and had the family been in Australia they may have had grounds to appeal, the spokesman said.
It is one of a several decisions disability advocates have branded "discriminatory".
Two months ago, Filipino doctor Edwin Lapidario avoided deportation only after directors at his Hackham Medical Centre workplace agreed to pay $52,000 towards his autistic son's medical costs.
In 2008, a migrant doctor working in Victoria was threatened with deportation because his son had Down syndrome.
It took an international outcry and the intervention of then Immigration Minister Chris Evans to overturn the decision to deport German doctor Bernhard Moeller and his family.
Intellectual Disability Association of SA chairman David Holst and Dignity for Disability MP Kelly Vincent have both called for an immediate overhaul of the "discriminatory" policies.
"A decision made on some sort of disability shouldn't be grounds for someone being in the country - it is discrimination," Mr Holst said.
Ms Vincent said making black-and-white decisions based someone's disability was unacceptable. "It is very concerning and I think insulting to put all people with disabilities in the same basket," she said.
"We need to stop pretending that people with disabilities and their families don't pay taxes too."
Autism SA chief executive Jon Martin said people with Autism Spectrum Disorder could make "excellent social and economic contributions".
SAPOL said it did not comment on individual recruitments. It did confirm it had no immediate plans to recruit more officers from the UK. The latest round of 93 UK recruitments has just ended.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/work...#ixzz1xdDV4GYG