A local family are waiting to hear about their immigration status this Christmas, as they risk being sent back to Malaysia.
The Sim family’s migration status in Australia came under question when father of three Geoff Sim went into the Immigration Department.
The family of five, who voluntarily oversee the successful and much loved Chinese restaurant at the Narromine Bowling Club, have obtained a bridging visa to stay in the country while the Department of Immigration decides their fate.
Local Communities for Children worker, Ann-Louise Stonestreet has been working closely with the Sims.
“It is an extraordinary case as Geoff was under age when brought to Australia by his mum to stay with his sister. He was a minor with no access to money and was completely dependent on his family for room and board. When Geoff was able to teach himself English, as an adult he approached Immigration Department to see what he had to do legally to obtain residency,” she said.
“Geoff’s two sisters are Australian citizens. His children Darren, Chloe and Renee have Australian birth certificates and all speak English and identify as Australians. They will be going back to a language, culture, religion, country and people they don’t know.”
Mrs Stonestreet said the Narromine community will be missing out as well should the Sims be sent back to Malaysia.
“To lose Geoff who has been in Australia for 18 years, and his beautiful family who have integrated into Australian lifestyle and as Narromine citizens for over seven years doesn’t make sense,” she said.
“Thousands of Syrian migrants will be accepted into Australia, specifically to regional country areas over the next couple of years, the walls broken down by the Sim family for acceptance and belonging will only path the way for new migrants to be accepted into a small community.”
The family are currently working with federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton and the Department of Immigration to hear their plea to stay in the country and letters have been sent to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
The Sim family will be reviewed again on January 20, 2017 but after that their future is unknown. The ministerial intervention has halted because of the Christmas period, however letters of support from the community for this family will be vital in their review.
If you would like to write a letter of support and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.