A 10-year-old Indian boy has been refused an Australian visitor visa for a third time as the Department of Home Affairs believes he does not have "employment or financial incentives" to return back home.
The boy's father and stepmother live in Melbourne. The visa was sought so he could come meet them during his summer vacation, Australian media reported.
"It has been three years since I have seen my son. We applied for his visa thrice and they (Australian authorities) have refused the application with the same reason," his father Harinder Singh told SBS Punjabi.
Harinder Singh's wife died in a road accident in India in 2012. Later he remarried and moved to Australia in 2015. His son also came to Australia with him but returned to India the same year to continue his studies.
Harinder Singh and his wife currently have a restriction on travelling overseas.
Harmanpreet Singh, who currently lives with his grandmother in India, first applied for a visitor visa in 2017. But the visa was refused as the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection wasn't convinced that he intended to stay temporarily in Australia.
He applied for a visitor visa again this year, but the application was turned down again.
Following this, the boy's father wrote to Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. He was advised to supply "as much information as possible" to demonstrate an incentive for his son to return to India with his next application.
"I added the documents of my property in India, a letter from my son's school and my mother's guardianship certificate of him issued by a court in India. But all that was not enough and the visa officer again cited a lack of employment and financial incentives," said Harinder Singh.
His latest application for a fast track visa was refused on May 28. "We didn't know that government and the system could be so harsh that they would split a family like that," he said.
Harinder Singh, who works as a welder in Melbourne, said the prolonged separation from his son has caused "a lot of stress" in the family.
"Do people have no right to even see their children? Our elder son has been here at least 6 to 7 times and he returned to India each time."
He has now started an online petition to get the Australian Home Affairs Minister to review the decision.
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