The Problem

In 2010, Migration Solutions read about a tragic immigration story involving a young Thai woman and an Australian family which was being reported in local media.

Andrew, an Australian citizen, and Nareerut (more commonly known as Som) met in Thailand whilst Andrew was travelling overseas. The couple were in a committed relationship and looking forward to the birth of their first child, when on 17 March 2010, Andrew was viciously attacked during an attempted robbery. Tragically, Andrew died as a result of the injuries he suffered during the mugging, leaving a pregnant Som fearful for her life and that of her unborn child as the sole witness to the attack.

For the safety and well-being of the family, Andrew’s parents Rory and Jane were desperate for Som to come live with them in Australia where both she and the unborn child would be safe and cared for. Despite Som and Andrew’s relationship and their unborn child, Som had not yet applied for an Australian visa of any description, leaving her with no obvious options before her for attaining Australian residency. Not only this, but Andrew’s parents were already struggling with the enormous legal costs of bringing their son’s attackers to justice, and as such were unable to afford the specialist immigration advice needed to help bring Som to Australia and pursue an application for residency.

How we were able to help

After hearing of the story, Migration Solutions contacted Som and the family and offered to look into the case free of charge as part of its pro bono program for individuals and families who had been affected by exceptional circumstances. By this time, the family had become increasingly desperate after lodging a number of visas without professional guidance, and as such gratefully accepted the offer for Migration Solutions to handle the case on their behalf.

Even with the experience of the Migration Solutions staff, it soon became apparent that there would be no simple solution for Som. Because of the exceptionally rare circumstances surrounding the case, there was no firm precedent for agents to draw on when preparing her application, and no clear permanent residency visa options available to her as the partner of an Australian citizen who was pregnant with an unborn child.

As a result of Som’s tragic and exceptionally rare predicament, Migration Solutions realised the best chance for success would be via the Ministerial Intervention appeal process. Following the refusal of a previously lodged Protection visa, agents advised the family to lodge a Visitor visa which would allow Som to stay in Australia temporarily whilst they appealed the decision.

Emphasising the significant benefits for Som and her newborn daughter Angelina to live in Australia where they could be emotionally and financially supported by Rory and Jane, as well as the risk of forcing her to return to Thailand where Andrew’s attackers still roamed free, Migration Solutions submitted Som’s application to the Minister in mid-2011.  Thankfully due to the strength of the submission and the amount of media coverage the case received, Som’s application was approved by the Minister shortly after, allowing her and Angelina to move to Australia on a 801 Permanent Partner visa.


Today Angelina is a beautiful, healthy and intelligent young girl. She and Som still live with Andrew’s parents Rory and Jane, and continue to drop past and offer their thanks to Migration Solutions staff for all their help in giving the family the help they needed to overcome such a traumatic experience and move on with their lives.

‘I found [the immigration process] impossible to deal with because of the conflicting information we were getting from all the Government departments,’ said Rory.

‘In cases as complicated as ours was, you need professional advice. Close enough isn’t good enough.’

‘Without the generous help of Migration Solutions, I’m sure Som and Angelina wouldn’t be living here today.’

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