Community appeals for leniency and understanding as family faces visa block

Lottie Twyford 7 July 2021 12
The Jestingor family

The Jestingor family – Joey, Rezy, Yzabella, Gabriel and Patricia. Photo: Rolando Condat.

A Queanbeyan family has been left with a bleak prospect after their youngest daughter had her permanent residency application denied due to her medical condition.

The Jestingor family has been in Australia since 2014, and the community is rallying behind them to request an intervention from the Department of Home Affairs in her case.

Hope Christian Church Queanbeyan Pastor Rolando Condat says they are simply hoping for leniency and understanding from the Federal Government.

“We know what the laws of Australia are, but we hope the government can listen to us in this case of a family who has never been a burden on the taxpayer and does what they can for the community,” he said.

Pastor Condat started an online petition in early June to draw attention to the family’s case. Late this morning (7 July), the petition had garnered almost 20,000 signatures.

He says the entire family has been heavily involved with the church community since their arrival in Canberra seven years ago.

“Brother Joey coordinates a Bible study group where he mentors young families and Rezy is an usher.

“None of them has ever asked for anything from the government or been a burden on the taxpayer,” he said.

Joey Jestingor, a senior nurse at the Canberra Hospital Orthopaedics ward, left the Philippines with its precarious economy in which he says it was difficult to find work.

Since his family joined him a few months later, both his older children have completed high school and have either finished and are working or are undertaking tertiary studies.

His wife, Rezy, is a full-time carer to their youngest Patricia, who has autism and a disease in her retina, causing her to lose her vision. Rezy also volunteers her time at the church.

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Pastor Condat explains that both of the older children have to provide financial support to the family.

For Joey, going back to the Philippines would be heart-breaking, not only for him and his wife but for their children, too.

“When we left the Philippines, we sold our house, our car, everything, and now we have used up all of those savings filing application after application, solicitor fees after solicitor fees.

“We wanted the children to grow up in a safer and better environment. and to become part of the Australian community.

“COVID-19 is rampant, and it’s even more difficult now than it was seven years ago to find work,” he explained.

Likewise, Joey says there is much age discrimination when it comes to finding work in the Philippines.

But, he says they are fast running out of options that would allow them to stay in the country.

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The Jestingor family’s 457 visa was valid for two years, and after a sponsored application for permanent residency in 2015, the entire family’s application was rejected a year later.

The hospital agreed to sponsor another application for a temporary visa and this was granted to all of the family, excluding Patricia.

In 2017, the Jestingor family’s solicitor began appealing the decision to exclude Patricia. It’s now waiting on an intervention from the Department of Home Affairs.

Joey is currently on the last visa that the hospital has agreed to sponsor but says that it’s now much more difficult to apply for permanent residency due to his age.

Joey questions why the family’s quest to live in Australia has been so difficult.

“I don’t know what to do anymore, and I don’t know how to reach out to people in the position to help us to ask them to listen.

“Here we are growing and we are productive. My children are working and studying. If we go back to the Philippines, we are back at square one and the eight years here has been for nothing.”

“All we want is to be part of the community and to be permanent residents of Australia,” Joey explained.

You can sign the petition online.

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12 Responses to Community appeals for leniency and understanding as family faces visa block
Christina Towns Christina Towns 8:36 pm 08 Jul 21

So in these cases why don't the government suggest they agree to pay for her care or at least meet 50% costs or something, ie the parents in order to come to Australia, before they arrive, its a mute point when they are here it is irrelevant, they were allowed to come knowing they had a disabled child. I do get it it costs millions on the health system, but to disclude when already here, seems unfair to me, she is totally dependent on her parents, can't go back on her own, there is no support for the disabled in the phillipines

Shiella Soriano-Salvador Shiella Soriano-Salvador 8:28 pm 08 Jul 21

God is good kuya Joey Jestingor. 😇🙏

Benjamin Rose Benjamin Rose 7:38 pm 08 Jul 21

This is a piss poor excuse. Very un-Australian. The government should do the right thing and let the family stay.

    Peter Temby Peter Temby 4:35 pm 25 Jul 21

    You have to recognise that this Government doesnt care about families anyway.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:35 pm 08 Jul 21

“The Jestingor family’s 457 visa was valid for two years, and after a sponsored application for permanent residency in 2015, the entire family’s application was rejected a year later.”

That sort of underwrites the crux of the problem.

    Sanjay Sircar Sanjay Sircar 11:05 pm 22 Jul 21

    Particularly given the recent changes in policy in New Zealand regarding migrants with disabilities, it seems cruel to send people who contribute to a diverse society (which celebrates that diversity all it can when it suits) ‘back to here they came from’ for no fault of their own.

Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 5:21 am 08 Jul 21

Why are such good families being made to leave ?

When so many shouldn’t be given the option.

I hope things change for them .

    Jackie White Jackie White 1:12 pm 08 Jul 21

    Jody Maree Harrison because a certain PM said two decades ago, "We will decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come".

    That was the start of this (latest) nastiness, and people have repeatedly voted for its continuance.

    Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 4:40 pm 08 Jul 21

    Jackie White

    Sorry I don’t get a chance to vote here I know nothing of the govt . Nz most likely have the same or close to .

    I guess this is why people break the laws and run a muck no point in behaving living honest if your going to get the boot years down the track .

    Jackie White Jackie White 5:07 pm 08 Jul 21

    NZ has frequently shown more morals and kindness than Australia. They have offered to take many refugees that Aus has rejected purely because they arrived by boat.

    NZ showed how much better they can be than Australia way back in the 1980s:

Salima Haidary Salima Haidary 10:21 pm 07 Jul 21

Such a beautiful family . Australia definitely needs more people like you guys. And @Peter Zivkovic you should also return home.

    Camilla Jozwik Camilla Jozwik 10:43 pm 07 Jul 21

    Salima Haidary looks like someone has deleted Peter's horrible comment. I agree with you. This family deserves to stay. I'd be happy for my tax payers dollars to help pay for their daughter's medical needs if required. Joey has given so much to the hospital & all the patient's he's looked after & no doubt his kids will give back to the community once their studies are complete.

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