Two-week reprieve for Lankan Tamil asylum seekers facing deportation

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The Tamil family facing deportation back to Sri Lanka will be allowed to stay in Australia for another two weeks before facing court for a “full and final hearing”.

Justice Mordecai Bromberg delayed any decision on the family’s youngest daughter to be granted a protection visa in Melbourne this morning and extended their injunction order until September 18 for final evidence to be brought forward on whether she had been properly assessed

The court had already granted a two-day delay to the case on Wednesday after revelations from the Immigration Minister that two-year-old Tharunicaa had in fact been assessed and found ineligible for the visa.

Tharunicaa and her sister Kopika, 4, were both born in Australia after their parents arrived separately by boat from Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013.

The pair settled in the Queensland town of Biloela, but their bid to stay on in the country after their bridging visas expired last year was unsuccessful.

The family spent the past year in a detention centre in Melbourne before being forced onto a flight bound for Sri Lanka on Friday.

However, the plane was halted after a judge granted an injunction order with concerns Tharunicaa’s claim to a protection visa had not been properly assessed.

Despite the end of the Sri Lankan civil war 10 years ago, the family say they still harbour fears of persecution as Tamils.

Such claims have been questioned by the Home Affairs and Immigration ministers after it was found the father of two had travelled to and from the country over past years.

However, neither minister ruled out the potential for the family to return to Australia and should re-apply to lawfully re-enter the country from Sri Lanka in the future.