Zach Featherstone6

When there exists strong public interest grounds, the Minister may intervene in a decision to provide a more favourable result. ISL had a matter involving such a situation.

The applicant had lodged an application for a Skilled Graduate visa but this was refused due to the applicant failing to meet the English language proficiency requirement. However, ISL submitted that it was unreasonable to find that the applicant did not possess the required level of competent English. This was because the applicant undertook a second IELTS test after the lodgement of the visa application and achieved a score that satisfied the language requirement. Despite this the Tribunal refused the visa and stated the applicant did not possess the required level of competent English and refused to take the second results into consideration. ISL stated that the second test should have been taken into consideration as a more accurate reflection of the applicant’s competency level.

ISL argued that there existed strong and relevant public interest grounds that made ministerial intervention favourable. The applicant was a valuable asset; the applicant had already significantly contributed to Australia economically and professionally through working as a qualified and registered nurse. There is a high demand for registered nurses in Australia. The applicant also hoped to further their studies and work in regional and remote areas where there are a continual shortage of nurses. As such, ISL submitted there were strong public interest grounds for permitting the applicant to remain in Australia.

ISL also indicated that there were unique exceptional circumstances which the Minister had to consider. The applicant had lived in Australia for five years and during that time had formed strong relationships with family and friends. The applicant lived with relatives who were Australian citizens and who the applicant identified as their family unit. Those individuals had no other relatives in Australia and would suffer severe psychological hardship if the applicant was removed. The applicant’s removal would have also caused financial hardship to his relatives as they had financially assisted the applicant in funding tertiary education. If the applicant was repatriated this would greatly diminish the applicant’s earning prospects and therefore the ability to repay the relatives.

ISL was successful in securing ministerial intervention. Due to the relevant public interest grounds and the existence of unique exceptional circumstances, the Minister exercised his power to substitute the decision of the MRT with a more favourable decision. A Temporary Graduate visa was granted allowing the applicant to remain in the country for an extended period to apply for another visa.

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