Relent leads to greener pastures
HELEN JACK firstname.lastname@example.org GEORGINA and Andy Gough have good reason to open the champagne.
While celebrating their first wedding anniversary, the couple learned this week Georgina no longer has to leave Australia to satisfy Department of Immigration visa requirements.
A British citizen, Georgina married Lismore Greens candidate Andy Gough in August last year, at the same time lodging an application for a spouse visa with the department.
So imagine their shock just before last Christmas when told Georgina had only 28 days to leave Australia because her application had been refused.
Georgina and Andy immediately set to work gathering the evidence of their love and commitment to each other. It included their wedding DVD, cards and the letters they had sent each other in the lead up to their marriage. Family and friends bombarded the department with letters attesting the validity of their relationship.
"We had to submit medical reports, photographs of where we had been and invitations to events as a couple," said Georgina.
"Finally this week we received a 17-page faxed document saying all criteria had been satisfied and they had found no further grounds to reject my application.
"I will be a holder of a subclass H20 spouse visa, and after two years I can apply for Australian citizenship,"" Georgina said.
Andy said they were so relieved with this week's news that they intended throwing a party this weekend.
"The Department gave us priority because we had had media attention about our plight," he said.
"Otherwise we could have been waiting a lot longer." Georgina's trouble started when she had to give up her enrolment at Southern Cross University after her father became ill while he was visiting her last year. At that stage she had to give up her substantive visa and take up a bridging visa instead."