Petitioning Minister for Immigration and Border Protection


Siyat's struggle: Another story of disability discrimination in Australian
migration law.



National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is petitioning the Minister for
Immigration and Border Protection to stop the disability discrimination
against Siyat Abdi and grant him and his family Permanent Residency in


Siyat Abdi has been working as a disability support officer with Ethnic
Disability Advocacy Centre (EDAC) in Perth for several years.  EDAC has
sponsored him and his family, comprising his wife and two children (both
born here in Australia), and his other children in Kenya, for permanent
residence.  However, his family and he have had their visas refused, because
he is blind. 


The government has refused his visa on the grounds that he will be a cost to
the community because of his disability. This is despite the fact that he is
working full time and pays taxes. The Migration Act is exempt from the
Disability Discrimination Act, which is what enables this sort of
discrimination to be practised, so his only option now is Ministerial


He has already contributed to the Australian community and will continue to
do so.  While living in Australia, he completed a PhD and in 2007 he was
registered as the first blind teacher in South Australia.  He has worked
extensively with migrant communities in South Australia and Western
Australia, particularly with refugees, women and people with disability.  


He has been a representative on groups such as the Council of the National
Ethnic Disability Alliance, the Minister's Disability Advisory Council in
SA, president of the peak body of Somali United Communities in SA; and have
contributed to reference groups for the Equal Opportunity Commission WA,
Health and Disability Services, Muslim Council Western Australia, Stirling
Multicultural Advisory Network, Western Australian Somali Welfare Society
and the Self Advocacy and Peer Support Network.  He is a teacher and an
advocate at secondary and tertiary level. 


NEDA is calling on the Minister to intervene and overturn the decision by
the Department that discriminates against him based on his disability and
grant him permanent residency so that he may reside in Australia with his
family and continue his work as an advocate and teacher.




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