Topics:  australia, autism, deaf, department of immigration, disability, family, health

Scott family fights for a better life in Australia

Ann and Ray Styants are shocked that some of their family are not allowed citizenship while others are.
Ann and Ray Styants are shocked that some of their family are not allowed citizenship while others are. john mccutcheon

NIAMH Scott's family is desperate to move to Australia but one thing is stopping them from making the shift: her disability.

Thirteen-year-old Niamh has autism and is profoundly deaf.

While her mum Julie, dad Adrian and brother Tevin ticked all the boxes as candidates to emigrate to Australia from England, the Immigration department denied their application due to Niamh's health potentially becoming a cost to the taxpayer.

While this may be considered standard procedure on behalf of the department, doctors, specialists and her family believe Niamh's condition would greatly improve if she were able to live in Australia due to the climate and environment, along with the relationships with family members already here.

Niamh's grandparents Ann and Ray Styants, who have been Australian citizens for 22 years, live at Elimbah, near Caboolture, and her older brothers - twins Marc and Stephen - are close by.

While Ann and Ray have toyed with the idea of going back to England, they said they preferred the lifestyle here and did not want to leave their grandsons.

Niamh's condition is considered a lifelong disability, but she requires only a small amount of medication.

The family believes her medical costs and support could be kept within the family.

"We are all prepared to support in one way or another," Niamh's brother Stephen said.

An appeal to the Department of Immigration was supported by Niamh's GP and the Oxfordshire Learning Disability Child and Adolescent Team, which said her condition had improved significantly in Australia.

"Following numerous stays in Australia, her development has been remarkable," learning disabilities specialist Bernie Gatt said.

However, he acknowledged that Niamh would always need the support of her family.

Member for Longman Wyatt Roy said he had written to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen requesting a review.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration said she was unable to discuss the specifics of the case.



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