Solution for permanent residency on the way


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has met a Sri Lankan Tamil family that had sought asylum and returned to central Queensland last week after more than four years in immigration detention.  

Albanese has taken his senior cabinet to regional Queensland this week and made a stop in Gladstone. It was here that he met the Nadesalingam family who arrived in Biloela last Friday (10) afternoon.

Priya, Nades, and their two Australian-born daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, are living in the central Queensland town on bridging visas granted by the new Labour government. The family was able to thank the Prime Minister in person and family friend Angela Fredericks said he assured them a solution for permanent residency was on the way.

 “It was really heart-warming to see them embrace the Prime Minister who assured us that a solution was on the way,” Fredericks said.

However, no time frame was given on when permanency would be announced. The family was taken into immigration detention in 2018 after their bridging visas expired.

The federal government consistently and comprehensively assessed the Nadesalingams’ case for asylum and found Australia was not obliged to protect them.

When Labour won the election the family was granted bridging visas, allowing them to return to Biloela.

During his press conference, Albanese once again said the decision to allow the family to stay rested with Immigration Minister Andrew Giles.

“I’ve said before I see no impediment to the family being settled permanently in Australia, but that will be a decision for the Minister,” he said.

Albanese subsequently addressed a crowd at a community meeting in Gladstone. “I went to Biloela in 2019. I went there and saw for myself a community that was caring, a community that just wanted to look after their own — including these two little girls, who I had the privilege of meeting this morning.”

Albanese said he was proud to lead a country that “expressed such warmth” at then-Acting Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers’s decision to allow them to return to Biloela. The family was officially welcomed back by the Biloela community at the Flourish festival on the weekend and five-year-old Tharnicaa celebrated her fifth birthday on Sunday, her first outside of detention. Priya Nadaraja said it had been wonderful to be back in her community. Kopika and Tharnicaa said they were looking forward to starting school next week.

(ABC News)