‘Overjoyed,overwhelmed’, Autistic boy and mother get residency after deportation fight

Townsville nurse Maria Sevilla and her son Tyrone are celebrating tonight after receiving formal notification from the Government that they will be granted permanent residency after months of anxiety and uncertainty for the family.


“I’m overjoyed, ecstatic, overwhelmed, over the moon – everything,” she told SBS News.

“This afternoon my solicitor called me and he told me about it (permanent residency).”

The 10-year-old autistic boy and his mother were facing deportation before the Immigration Minister Peter Duttond intervened to say they would be granted visas and not be deported last month following media attention on her case.

Even after the Minister intervened, Ms Sevilla said she had not felt secure until today’s decision was finalised.

“You know half of me tried to be positive and half of me tried to say that I need to be realistic – I don’t have the piece of paper to say he is really going to grant us permanent residency,” she said.

“Now we have the piece of paper and now I think it really is time to celebrate”.

Ms Sevilla said her son had thankfully not been aware of the legal drama of the recent weeks, which had taken a toll on her.

“He was just playing outside on his scooter while I was sitting by the bitumen crying and he does not have any clue what is happening,”  she said.

The mother and son were at risk of being deported to the Philippines, after Sevilla’s application for a three-year Skilled Provisional Work visa was rejected last September. they had been living in Australia for the last eight years.

The original rejection was based on Tyrone’s medical condition, which the Department of Immigration said could be a “significant cost” to Australian tax payers.

A spokesman for the Minister said last month that Mr Dutton had stepped in to grant permanent visas, “subject to standard immigration checks and the receipt of required documentation”.

The news follows the presentation of a petition with 122,000 signatures to Mr Dutton, who had ministerial discretionary power to overrule the department under the Immigration Act.

Speaking to SBS in April, Ms Sevilla said most of her family lives in Australia and Tyrone’s condition will deteriorate if they are sent back to the Philippines.