Denied a Working Visa because of son’s autism, a Filipino mother could be facing deportation

A 10-year-old boy and his mother who have lived in Australia for almost a decade could be deported, because the government thinks his autism could be a burden to taxpayers.

Maria Sevilla moved to Australia from the Philippines in 2007 with the hope of building better life for her and her 2-year old son. She is now working at Queensland as clinical nurse at Townsville Hospital.

She received a heartbreaking email last March 30 notifying her that she had 28 days to convince the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to reverse the government’s decision.

“I just said ‘Oh my God, this is it.’” she told

The court was considering an earlier decision by the Immigration Department to deny Ms. Sevilla’s skilled working visa application.

The visa was rejected for the reason that the child did not meet the health requirement, according to the spokesperson of Minister Dutton.

Tyrone was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2008. The condition can leave people with speech difficulties.

She completed her studies at TAFE and university, and rising to a clinical nursing position at Townsville Hospital.

She applied for a skilled visa, but it’s been refused because of her son’s condition.

“He didn’t choose to have autism so why is he being subjected to this?”

She described him as a happy little boy who he didn’t need special medication and he attends special school in Townsville. He can read, ride a bike. Thus, he is not a burden, he is a joy.

She expresses, “The only thing is his language. He is largely non-verbal but he tries his best. You need to know him to understand him.”


She said she had strived hard raising her son and succeeded to be a nurse yet all of it could be dropped out because the government believes that children with autism are going to be more of a cost to Australian society than a benefit.

Ms. Sevilla explained that she has no reliable relatives in the Philippines who would be able to care for Tyrone on a long span of time, and said her son’s security, human and child rights, and dignity are at stake if he is sent there. All of her family live in Australia.

It is up to the applicant to pursue further review, Minister Dutton’s office said.

For now, she wished the minister might put himself in her shoes and reconsider.




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