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Anthony Albanese's Tamil family decision could create loophole for migrants to live in Australia

The decision to allow a Tamil asylum seeker family to remain in Australia could set a long-term precedent for foreigners wishing to stay in the country, as a Scottish family looks to slide through the same loophole.

Electrical expert Mark Green, 44, was headhunted for his specialist solar installation skills in 2012 and flown to Adelaide with his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19.

But after a series of broken promises by employers left them penniless and stranded without visas, they were set to be kicked out of the country on Wednesday.

The family were saved at the last minute thanks to an intervention from a country music legend and the South Australian Premier – with their new immigration lawyer set to use the precedent of the Nadesalingam Tamil family from Bilgoela in Queensland, who had their visa conditions changed to let them stay despite arriving by boat.

SA Best politician Frank Pangallo advised the Green’s representation there was no difference between the two situations.

A chance meeting with an Australian country music legend has saved Mark (right) and Kelly Green (left) and their daughter Rebecca (centre) from certain deportation

A chance meeting with an Australian country music legend has saved Mark (right) and Kelly Green (left) and their daughter Rebecca (centre) from certain deportation

The Greens will be using the Nadesalingam family as their legal precedent to remain in Australia after intervention from the South Australian Premier

The Greens will be using the Nadesalingam family as their legal precedent to remain in Australia after intervention from the South Australian Premier

The Greens will be using the Nadesalingam family as their legal precedent to remain in Australia after intervention from the South Australian Premier

‘In the Nadesalingam family matter, the minister exercised his power to allow the Sri Lankan family to remain permanently in Australia after ‘careful consideration of all relevant matters’,’ Mr Pangallo told The Australian.

‘I urge him to do the very same thing with the Greens.’

Mr Pangallo highlighted that the Nadesalingams entered the country ‘illegally’ on a boat while Mr Green came as a skilled labourer, paying taxes and making their ‘own way’.

‘If not, the minister needs to ­explain how he can approve ­permanent residency to the Sri ­Lankan couple – who entered the country illegally – and their two young children, but deny the same approval to a family who entered the country legally and has been paying their own way, including taxes, for the past decade,’ he said.

‘The Greens are of excellent character and fill all the requirements of people seeking permanent residency in this country. They have never been a burden on taxpayers.

‘They deserve to be granted permanent residency, particularly in the middle of a skilled workers crisis.’

Priya Nadaraja, Nades Murugappan and their daughters Kopika, 7, and Tharnicaa, 4, now call Australia their permanent home after years at the centre of a debate about Australia’s immigration policy.

The family were removed from their central Queensland town of Biloela in 2018 after their bridging visas expired, and both she and her husband’s claims for refugee status were rejected by the Coalition.

They were found by the Coalition government not to meet Australia’s refugee requirements and were kept in detention in Melbourne and Christmas Island, and in community detention in Perth. 

During their detention, a  community-driven campaign to keep the family in Australia was launched, but former Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was ‘no protection owed’ to the family.

But Anthony Albanese’s new government intervened in the case after they won May’s election, and granted the family new bridging visas in June, allowing the family to return to their regional hometown and stay in the country.

The Greens vowed to stay and fight - but as they prepared to be plead for help live on TV, Frank Pangallo was called by the SA Premier to say they had been given the vital lifeline

The Greens vowed to stay and fight - but as they prepared to be plead for help live on TV, Frank Pangallo was called by the SA Premier to say they had been given the vital lifeline

The Greens vowed to stay and fight – but as they prepared to be plead for help live on TV, Frank Pangallo was called by the SA Premier to say they had been given the vital lifeline

 

 

 

The Green family were booked on the 10.20pm Qatar Airways flight to Doha last night, but just as the family should have been checking in, they were dramatically saved at the 11th hour.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas personally called new Labor immigration minister Andrew Giles and persuaded him to grant the family a month-long reprieve.

And Australian Country Music Hall of Fame icon Johnny Mac, 89 – who had a global hit with Pink Champagne And A Room of Roses in 1964 – played an unlikely key role in saving the family, originally from Ayrshire in Scotland.

The Greens were saved thanks to the help of Australian Country Music Hall of Fame hero Johnny Mac, 89 (pictured),  who had a global hit with Pink Champagne And A Room of Roses in 1964

The Greens were saved thanks to the help of Australian Country Music Hall of Fame hero Johnny Mac, 89 (pictured),  who had a global hit with Pink Champagne And A Room of Roses in 1964

The Greens were saved thanks to the help of Australian Country Music Hall of Fame hero Johnny Mac, 89 (pictured),  who had a global hit with Pink Champagne And A Room of Roses in 1964

‘We’re just so grateful to everyone,’ Mr Green told Daily Mail Australia at his Dover Gardens home in Adelaide. ‘But it wouldn’t have happened without Johnny.’

Mac was the first Australian country music singer to make it big in the US, appearing alongside Johnny Cash in the 60s, and he even bought Elvis Presley’s 1969 gold Cadillac Eldorado.

He is now back living in his hometown of Adelaide and is a regular at Villi’s Pies where Ms Green works.

She often serves the long-running 70s host of Channel Seven’s Country Style show – and when she told him of her family’s plight, he sprung into action.

Mac immediately put her in touch with his old mate and former Today Tonight reporter Frank Pangallo – now an elected South Australian state politician for the SA-Best Party.

The contact sparked a chain of events which would eventually spare the family at the very last moment. 

Mark Green (left) and his wife Kelly moved 16,000km from Scotland to their new home in Adelaide, with their permanent residency supposed to be sponsored by his company

Mark Green (left) and his wife Kelly moved 16,000km from Scotland to their new home in Adelaide, with their permanent residency supposed to be sponsored by his company

Mark Green (left) and his wife Kelly moved 16,000km from Scotland to their new home in Adelaide, with their permanent residency supposed to be sponsored by his company

Mr Pangallo managed to find a new migration lawyer for the family who told the Greens at the weekend that they should risk everything to stay in AUs

Solicitor Abby Hamdan told the Greens they had nothing to lose by standing their ground – and after days of family debate, at 3.30pm on the day they were due to leave, they decided to stay.

‘She’s been absolutely fantastic – she told us to stand up and fight for it,’ Mark told Daily Mail Australia. ‘So we took her advice. 

‘I was sitting on the fence about it and worried that if we overstayed our welcome it might just make things worse for us in the long run.

‘But Kelly and Rebecca said we’ve got nothing to lose. They were going to deport us anyway and we could have been waiting back home for two or three years.

Mark Green, 44, his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19. (pictured together) were to be kicked out of Australia at 10pm on Wednesday as calls were made for the Immigration Minister to step in

Mark Green, 44, his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19. (pictured together) were to be kicked out of Australia at 10pm on Wednesday as calls were made for the Immigration Minister to step in

Mark Green, 44, his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19. (pictured together) were to be kicked out of Australia at 10pm on Wednesday as calls were made for the Immigration Minister to step in 

‘They say it can be cleared up in three or five months, but we know of people that have been waiting for years. We’ve heard horrible, horrible stories.

‘If we had left before our deadline, we would have been one of those statistics of people left overseas for years waiting for approval with our life on hold.’

They vowed to stay and fight – but as they prepared to plead for help live on TV, Mr Pangallo was called by the SA Premier to say they had been given the vital lifeline.

‘It was wild – we were waiting and waiting and waiting for a response from the government and then I got the call just as we were going to air,’ Mr Pangallo said.

‘We got the Premier involved today and then it was all this last minute to-ing and fro-ing. He had a meeting with the immigration minister at 5.15pm – and then rang me to tell me the news just as the cameras were rolling.’

The Greens now have an extra month to make a submission for their visa type to revert to what it was before so they can remain in the country while they apply for a renewal and then bid for permanent residency again.

They thought they were already on the verge of residency a few years ago when one of Mr Green’s former bosses told him he’d done all the paperwork and paid the fees.

Mr Green said he trusted him after working alongside him for five years and considered him a close personal friend.

But the paperwork turned out to be false, and caused the Greens to breach their work visas which directly caused their present predicament forcing them out the country.

Relocating to the UK would have meant they had to leave their beloved pet dog Maisie (pictured with mum Kelly, left, and daughter Rebecca) behind

Relocating to the UK would have meant they had to leave their beloved pet dog Maisie (pictured with mum Kelly, left, and daughter Rebecca) behind

Relocating to the UK would have meant they had to leave their beloved pet dog Maisie (pictured with mum Kelly, left, and daughter Rebecca) behind

The family has lost almost everything in their battle to stay in Australia, spending $150,000 on visa and immigration lawyers, and paying for all their own healthcare. 

Even Rebecca’s public state school fees is bleeding them dry with cost stacking up to $8000 a year.

The Greens moved to their new home in Adelaide in 2012 with the promise of their permanent residency being sponsored by the company flying him in.

But every time he’s been eligible, the employers have folded before the paperwork could be completed – and it’s now happened seven times to the devastated family.

After realising they were going to be given the boot, the family were forced to sell almost everything they owned and made the heartbreaking decision to leave their  beloved pet labradoodle Maisie and their 10-year-old rabbit Marmaduke behind.

The $35,000 cost of flights and quarantine fees for the animals was just too much to bear for the devastated family.

But now there’s a chance they might be able to stay, Mr Green refuses to be bitter about it. He’s even forgiven the boss who caused the crisis.

The family has spent $150,000 on visa applications and migration lawyers, and had to sell everything they own, leaving them virtually penniless

The family has spent $150,000 on visa applications and migration lawyers, and had to sell everything they own, leaving them virtually penniless

The family has spent $150,000 on visa applications and migration lawyers, and had to sell everything they own, leaving them virtually penniless

‘He never apologised,’ admitted Mr Green. ‘I don’t care any more though, At the end of the day everyone’s got their bad side and everyone’s got their good side.

‘Everybody does things wrong – but it’s learning to forgive and let bygones be bygones. If you keep moping about something, it’s killing you, not anyone else.’

He says the family has been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received since their plight was first revealed, with goodwill messages from across the world.

A online petition begging for them to remain in the country has exploded with more than 25,000 signatures already, including more than 10,000 on Wednesday alone.

The pressure of the last month has taken its toll, with Mark Green (pictured) suffering endless sleepless nights and losing 15kg in a matter of weeks

The pressure of the last month has taken its toll, with Mark Green (pictured) suffering endless sleepless nights and losing 15kg in a matter of weeks

The pressure of the last month has taken its toll, with Mark Green (pictured) suffering endless sleepless nights and losing 15kg in a matter of weeks 

But the pressure of the last month has taken its toll, with Mr Green suffering endless sleepless nights and losing 15kg in a matter of weeks. 

‘The support has been indescribable,’ said Mr Green. ‘The phone has been ringing off the hook and I’ve been getting 1000 texts a day. I don’t know how celebrities cope!

‘It’s been very stressful. The whole thing has been so stressful. I’ve tried to keep strong for my family but when they’re not looking I’ve broken down so many times.

‘It was just one hurdle after another after another through no fault of our own. 

‘We ended up in this position and it was just seemed like the darkness was just getting darker and there was no way out. We’d done nothing wrong.

‘I’m just glad they’ve seen sense and given us a chance. It’s restored my faith in humanity. I’ll sleep soundly tonight for the first time in months.’

The Greens home is virtually empty bar beds, a sofa, TV, fridge and a coffee machine but they are relived just to be able to stay in Australia

The Greens home is virtually empty bar beds, a sofa, TV, fridge and a coffee machine but they are relived just to be able to stay in Australia

The Greens home is virtually empty bar beds, a sofa, TV, fridge and a coffee machine but they are relived just to be able to stay in Australia 

He added: ‘This is our life. We don’t want anything else. There’s many countries and people that have offered me jobs but I don’t want to leave Australia. I love Australia.

‘But I don’t think people realise how much is involved in having to leave the country to apply and then come back again. Every part of your life is in turmoil. 

‘You have to give up your job, your home, your cars, your pets – everything, and the cost is huge. We have nothing left. 

‘I’d hoped to have my own home and business now – but I’ve got nothing…not even a mortgage.

Johnny Mac put the family in touch with state politician Frank Pangallo (pictured together) who set the ball rolling with South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and immigration minister Andrew Giles

Johnny Mac put the family in touch with state politician Frank Pangallo (pictured together) who set the ball rolling with South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and immigration minister Andrew Giles

Johnny Mac put the family in touch with state politician Frank Pangallo (pictured together) who set the ball rolling with South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and immigration minister Andrew Giles

‘I just hope the Labor government now changes the system. There are so many people in the same boat as us and the system is failing.’ 

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