Australia

Dying Pakistani student's family granted Australia visas

Screen shot of Hassan Asif during interview Image copyright Ten Eyewitness News
Image caption Hassan Asif is dying of cancer, but Australia's government won't grant his family a visa to visit him

A decision to deny a dying Pakistani student's family a visa to visit Australia has been overturned.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the mother and brother of Hassan Asif would be granted visas to Australia.

Mr Asif was studying architecture at a university in Melbourne when he was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer in July.

His case attracted wide media attention after he made an emotional plea to see his family before died.

Mr Dutton's office told the BBC he received a call on Wednesday afternoon confirming the decision to grant Mr Asif's mother and brother a visa.

Family wish

Mr Asif told Network Ten on Tuesday night that it was difficult to face the prospect of death without his family around him and questioned why they had been denied visas.

"I'm dying and it's really hard because of the pain. In these circumstances everybody would like to be with family," he said.

At an earlier press conference, Mr Dutton said that in such cases immigration officials would have considered several factors before granting or denying visas, including the likelihood applicants might overstay their visa or make a claim for protection.

"In some cases that can result in millions of dollars of expense to the taxpayer," he said.

"It may mean that somebody is here on welfare for an extended period of time so the consideration has to be in the national interest."

Bucket list

The Melbourne City Mission homelessness centre has been caring for Mr Asif, who was previously living in a squat.

The centre's director, Sheridan Bruinhout, said Mr Asif had a relatively small social network because his focus had been on studying.

But he was currently ticking off a "bucket list" that included getting his feet wet at the beach, going to the movies and visiting the Melbourne Aquarium, she said.

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