A 10-year-old boy and his mother have hand-delivered a petition signed by 120-thousand people urging the Immigration Minister to stop their deportation.

Canberra rejected the woman’s visa application last month saying her son’s autism is a burden to Australian tax-payers.

Tom Armstrong reports.


Maria Sevilla just wants to keep living and working in Australia while her son Tyrone grows up.

But the Migration Review Tribunal rejected her application for a skilled work visa saying Tyrone’s autism means he may be a burden on the health system.

Maria Sevilla, Mother: “As you can see he’s a very healthy, cheeky, little boy.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has the power to overrule the decision.

With 120,000 signatures Maria delivered a petition to his Brisbane electoral office topped off with a heartfelt letter from Tyrone.

Maria Sevilla, Mother: “We’re really lucky to have all this support in my hands, I think it’s a blessing too.”

The Minister will consider several factors including Australia’s international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It says the child’s best interests should be a primary consideration.

The family arrived in Australia eight years ago.

Maria is a registered Nurse who pays tax, has private health insurance and receives no government funding for Tyrone’s condition.

Beth Mohle, Secretary, Queensland Nurses Union: “It is about making sure that Maria and Tyrone get a fair go, that they have the opportunity to continue to contribute significantly to the Australian community.”

One Townsville Doctor has already raised $20,000 in a trust fund for Tyrone and offered him free healthcare until he turns 18.

If their last chance appeal is unsuccessful the pair will be sent back to the Philippines.

Tom Armstrong, QUT News.