Subject: Age: Rejected after 10 years 'at home' in Australia

The Age

Rejected after 10 years 'at home' in Australia

By Andra Jackson May 10, 2005

East Timorese-born Nelson Pinto, 29, gently holds his 90-year-old grandmother's hand as he walks her back to her Richmond flat.

It was his grandmother Kium Moy Lay, then 80, who went back to East Timor 10 years ago to rescue him when "Indonesian soldiers were after me".

His mother, who was involved with the resistance movement, Fretilin, had been beaten and detained by Indonesian soldiers and his parents worried for his safety.

They contacted his grandmother in Melbourne and she returned to East Timor to get him out to Australia.

He lived with her for two years and she supported him. Then he moved in with his grandmother's daughter, his aunt Natalina Tsia, for the next six years. Now he lives with his cousin.

He is close to his grandmother and aunt who both have permanent residency in Australian and has settled into life in Australia.

But now after 10 years in Australia, he is one of about 50 East Timorese in Melbourne and Sydney who have been told they must leave.

They have been sent letters by the immigration department telling them their bridging visas have expired and they have until May 23 to accept a government resettlement package of $2000 and a one-way ticket to East Timor or be deported.

"I felt really shocked," said Mr Pinto, speaking at the North Richmond Community Health Centre, which has provided support to many of Melbourne's East Timorese during their long struggle for permanency.

"I've been here 10 years and I feel I'm an Australian."

His grandmother, tears streaking her face, said: "When you get old, you don't have your own dream. You want to see your child and grandchild have a good life."


Northern Territory News

Kicked out after living here 8 years By REBECCA HEWETT 12may05

A Timorese man who has lived and worked in Darwin for eight years is being forced to go back to East Timor.

Jose Jongue, 34, is believed to be the only East Timorese person in the Territory singled out by the federal Government for deportation.

``I don't know why they're doing this,'' Mr Jongue said.

``They haven't given me any reasons.

``I've been here so long I feel like I'm an Australian. I don't know anyone in East Timor except my parents.

``I am very sad and worried.''

Mr Jongue arrived in Darwin in 1997 and has worked for NT Oriental Emporium on Bagot Rd since.

But two weeks ago he received a letter from the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs telling him he had to ``make plans to leave the country''.

The Department gave him 28 days to leave.

The letter said the federal Government would pay for a one-way ticket to East Timor and would give Mr Jongue $2000.

But it did not give reasons why the 34-year-old delivery driver was being forced to leave the country.

``I enjoy working here very much and I have a lot of friends,'' Mr Jongue said.

``I haven't done anything wrong. I don't know why they want me to go.''

Darwin MLA Delia Lawrie and Mr Jongue's employer Jaime Lay have taken up the Coconut Grove resident's case.

``He's worked the whole time,'' Ms Lay said.

``He's paid taxes to the Australian Government.

``If he'd been involved in criminality or had been sitting around on the dole for eight years I'd understand.

``But he hasn't.

``After eight years working for us, he's a very valued employee.

``I would happily sponsor him to stay but then he's tied to our company and I think he deserves more choice than that.''

Ms Lawrie, the Member for Karama, accused the federal Government of acting in an ``un-Australian'' way, given that Mr Jongue was a fully participating member of society.

``What is there to gain from this?'' Ms Lawrie said.

``This is where Jose lives. This is where he works.

``He goes to his local church, he plays soccer, he has friends here.''

Mr Jongue has twice been unsuccessful in his application for a protection visa, with the first application taking seven years before it was rejected.

Ms Lawrie said she had written to federal Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone on Mr Jongue's behalf.

But she urged other Territorians to write and voice their opposition.

``People need to write and say: `He's a valuable member of our society. Let him stay','' she said.

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