By Ursula Nolks
March 4, 2013
EDITORS NOTE: Thorsten, son of Ursula and Frank Nolks, rang me yesterday about the impending deportation of his parents on Wednesday after more than 30 years in Australia. Their lives changed course when Thorsten wanted to get married in 2008, because it was discovered his parents had changed their last name after arriving in Australia on a tourist visa. Tell your story and I will run it, I said. Ursula got to work and here is her account, followed by extracts from Ursula’s and Frank’s 2011 letter to the immigration minister. The family’s Senator, Trish Crossin, wrote to the minister on their behalf, and I’m hoping she will send it to me to post here.
In 2008, Thorsten, Frank and myself were interviewed by two immigration department officers from Canberra in the Darwin office. Our then case manager Dale Astbury forwarded it direct to the Minister for Immigration for ministerial intervention. We were also told by Dale that ‘deportation was never an option’.
But when a new case manager was appointed to us it all changed. We were made to start from scratch, and we were told that we had to get a valid visa or be deported.
We were advised by a Migration Agent to apply for a tourist visa, which will be denied but would give us the stepping ground for a ministerial intervention. After paying for tourists visas, then applying to the Migration Tribunal for a hearing, paying nearly $2500, our Tourist Visas were denied. From then on we were just given the runaround all the way to today.
Our last hope was help from our Senator Trish Crossin, and she sent a letter to Minister Chris Bowen on 3 August 2012. After we received a copy of the Senators letter we discovered that she was informed from the Darwin immigration department that we have alleged links with a motor cycle gang:
‘In relation to integration Mr and Mrs Nolks have successfully owned and operated a business in the Darwin community for 17 years. This enabled them to sponsor a number of community-based groups and participate in a Rotary Club, and have therefore evidence of being part of and contributing the community. This effort is fairly substantial and I believe has been largely overlooked.
‘The alleged links with a motor cycle gang have not been detailed nor investigated or actioned by the police or relevant authorities. It is my view that unless this is proven, this may well be hearsay and should not be a reason to refuse their request to stay in this country.’
In the last three years my husband developed a heart condition, and had to go to Adelaide for a heart surgery as there are no facilities here in Darwin. His condition has not improved, and this stress is certainly not helping.
In our last meeting with the department on February 20 we were informed we had to ring Werner Braun (Third Secretary) Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and if we do not comply we may have to be detained and may be send to a detention centre.
Our concern is that after more than 30 years living in Australia and calling Australia our home, returning would be like starting with nothing with no family. We have one son. He lives in Australia and if something happens to my husband I have my son to turn to.
We are hoping to be able to stay in this country and to see our golden years in the country we love and call home. Going back would mean never to see our son or our granddaughter again. We believe in Family and keeping families together, not separating. Read the rest of this entry »