In 2011 Migration Solutions was referred a case by the Cancer Council NSW for a family from the Philippines who had been affected by cancer and required urgent immigration advice. The father was a skilled worker working at a café in the Northern Territory under a 457 visa, who also had a wife and three children. Tragically, their eldest son, Jan Mikael, had recently been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, a rare form of blood cancer mainly found in children. The treatment for the child required a bone marrow transplant to be performed at an Adelaide hospital, a procedure which the family were unable to have performed for financial reasons under their current visa conditions.
How we were able to help
The Cancer Council approached Migration Solutions to ask whether we could assist the family in any way. After immediately agreeing to take on the case on a pro bono basis, staff soon identified that the barrier to Janmikael receiving the life-saving operation was an inability to fund the operation. Whilst the 457 visa required the family to have private health insurance this had a cap of $30,000 per year, well short of the $100,000 cost of the operation.
The family were quite distraught. They were aware that there was treatment available to help their son; however the cap on their health insurance policy meant they were unable to access the treatment in Australia. Furthermore, the operation was unavailable in the Philippines, meaning an operation here was their only hope for saving their son.
After investigating many options, our agents identified that lodging a permanent employer sponsored application would be the best option for the family. After many long discussions with the Cancer Council, treating doctors and specialists, the employer, the Northern Territory Government and the Immigration Department, we managed to get approval for an RSMS permanent employer sponsored visa application to be lodged before obtaining approval from the NT Government, a process which under normal circumstances could take upwards of six months.
The case proved to be a high-stakes and challenging experience for the entire team, as the boy’s condition continued to rapidly deteriorate. Time became of the essence to prepare the application as quickly as possible, so that the family were able to attain access to Medicare to permit the life-saving procedure to be performed.
Fortunately thanks to the efforts of Migration Solutions, the hospital staff and the Department of Immigration, Jan Mikael received the transplant in time and entered remission soon after. Migration Solutions was happy to be able to provide our services free of charge for the family, including paying some of the mandatory Immigration Department application fees, as the strain the illness was causing them both financially and emotionally was evident from the very first discussion.
Eighteen months later the family’s application for permanent residency was granted, who were thrilled to be able to settle in the Northern Territory and finally call Australia home.
“Having children of a similar age to Jan Mikael and the Mutonug family and having lost a brother to the same form of childhood cancer as a young boy this was a very special case,” said Managing Director, Mark Glazbrook.
“I was incredibly proud of the result we achieved for the family and the way this matter was handled by our team.”
The family continue to express their thanks to the Migration Solutions team by visiting the office whenever they are in Adelaide.