Susan Delibasic, Monash Leader
An Australian Government minister has intervened to allow a Glen Waverley family to remain in Australia.
The Lee family, who migrated to Melbourne from South Korea in 2008 to start a business, had been facing deportation by the end of September after a Department of Immigration ruling.
But a campaign by local residents and the family's parish church in Syndal won over Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke.
This week he agreed to meet with the family's local MP, Julian Hill, then decided to personally review the case.
Yesterday the deportation ruling was reversed and all the family have been granted permanent visas.
David Lee, 53, runs a cleaning business. He and wife Jessica, 51, and sons Daniel, 23, Brian, 21, and Richard, 11, had been ‘heartbroken’ at having to quit the adopted country they love.
But Daniel yesterday said his family were overwhelmed with joy by the reversal.
‘We're so happy, we can't believe it,’ Mr Lee said. ‘We want to thank the Monash Leader, Julian Hill, St Christopher's parish, Alex Hawke, (Immigration Minister) Peter Dutton, the Korean community and everyone who backed our campaign.’ More than 7000 people had signed a petition calling on the government to allow the family to stay.
Father Pat Jackson, from St Christopher's church, said he and his congregation were relieved that their prayers for an ‘11th-hour intervention from the Lord’ had been answered. Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart also lobbied the government.
Fr Jackson said: ‘They are a wonderful family and valued members of our community. It is a wonderful result and we thank the minister for listening to us.’ He added: ‘I called the Lee family to let them know, and it was a very emotional call.
It's a privilege to speak up for our diverse community, and I'm so pleased at this result.’
Last month, the Monash Leader revealed the family's desperate plight after they were fleeced of $100,000 by a dodgy unregistered migration agent, and misadvised by their lawyer at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.