Canberra: Australia’s federal government on Friday announced that an asylum-seeking family will be able to remain in the country after four years in detention.
Jim Chalmers, the interim minister for home affairs, announced that the Murugappan family will be allowed to return to the central Queensland community of Biloela, marking a change under the new Labor government, reports Xinhua news agency.
Nades Murugappan and his wife, Priya, married in Australia after arriving in the country by boat and in 2014 settled in Biloela where their daughters were born.
In March 2018 the Australian Border Force (ABF) removed the family from Biloela after Priya’s visa expired and Nades’ claim of refugee status was rejected.
They have spent the last four years in detention in Melbourne, on Christmas Island and most recently in Perth, amid ongoing court challenges to any move to deport them.
“The effect of my intervention enables the family to return to Biloela, where they can reside lawfully in the community on bridging visas while they work towards the resolution of their immigration status, in accordance with Australian law,” Chalmers said in a statement.
“This government remains committed to Operation Sovereign Borders and keeping people smugglers out of business.”
The coalition had ruled out move to allow the family to stay in Australia despite the children being born in the country, arguing that doing so would encourage more arrivals to the country by boat.
However, in the leadup to its victory in the general election on Saturday, the Labor Party said it would help the family.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday morning that he believed “you can have strong borders without being weak on humanity”.
“These two young girls were born here in Australia. Nades is a meat worker in Biloela. We struggle to get people who are meat workers. We import temporary labor into our meat works,” he said.
“And they want, the community want, this family back to Biloela. And that would be an entirely appropriate outcome.”