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 Australia


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 intervention. 


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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