Tribunal: Member Christine Kannis

The applicant was an 81 year old citizen of Egypt and came to Australia on a Visitor visa to see his two daughters who are Australian citizens. The applicant applied to the Department for a further Visitor visa for a period of 12 months. A visa extension of this type can only be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and the Department of Home Affairs refused to grant the visa on the grounds that the applicant’s circumstances were not exceptional.

‘Exceptional circumstances’ can include an instance when the applicant's circumstances have changed in a way that could not have been anticipated at the time the Visitor visa was granted, is beyond the applicant’s control, and where not granting a visa would cause significant hardship to an Australian resident or citizen.

During his stay in Australia, the applicant’s health deteriorated. He suffered fractures to a leg and needed to stay in hospital for about 40 days for rehabilitation. On top of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, the applicant needed close medical attention. He claimed that his conditions required the presence of his daughters, who are a doctor and a nurse, as caregivers. His daughters were looking after him and gave evidence at the hearing that they wanted to continue to provide that care.

The AAT acknowledged that the applicant’s desire to remain in Australia with his daughters and his increased medical needs were genuine. However the AAT was not satisfied that such desire and needs, as a result of his age and his health, formed ‘an exception’ or were ‘extraordinary’ or ‘unusual’.

The AAT concluded that the applicant’s circumstances did not meet the definition for ‘exceptional circumstances’ and affirmed the decision not to grant the visa.

Read the full written decision on AustLii.