Gay man faces deportation and prison
A gay man living in Brisbane for four years faces deportation this week following his application for a partnership visa being refused.
Ali Choudhry grew up in the USA and has been in a relationship with Brisbane neuroscientist Matthew Hynd for the past four years. The pair were among the first same-sex couples in Queensland to register their civil union in 2012.
Last month Choudhry's application for a visa recognising his relationship with Hynd was refused and if deported he faces harassment and possible life imprisonment in Pakistan for being homosexual.
Choudhry lost all his possessions in the Brisbane floods and has since set up a photography business in Brisbane, but is preparing for deportation this week. He has few contacts in Pakistan, cannot read or write the local language.
The couple cannot understand why their relationship is not considered a legitimate long-term partnership.
“We applied for a partnership visa to try and keep me here, and keep us together,” he told the ABC.
“For us, for whatever reason, it took about two years, and then even after all that time, it came back as a no.”
Hynd explained that Choudhry grew up in the USA, has never lived in Pakistan and is unfamiliar with the language.
“This is a country where he doesn't read the language, he can speak it, but how are you supposed to then get a job?”
Choudhry has lodged an appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said that same-sex couples are assessed no differently from heterosexual couples regarding immigration matters and while they cannot comment on individual cases for privacy reasons, all applicants must meet relevant criteria to be granted a visa and that these extend beyond whether there is a genuine and ongoing relationship.
“This incident highlights the difficulties the LGBTI community faces by not having equal relationship recognition in Australia, said ”Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality Ivan Hinton.
“Despite reform providing for equal treatment for all de facto couples, regardless of orientation, the ability to prove a committed relationship is easier when an applicant is married to an Australian citizen.
Hinton added that Choudhry claims an immigration agent had asked 'Why don’t you just marry an Australian woman?'
“It illustrates the important human rights protections and recognition that comes with marriage and this is currently denied to loving same-sex couples in Australia,” Hinton said.
To sign a petition to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison Don’t Deport Ali Choudhry go here