A Sydney boy being deported because he has autism will have a seriously diminished quality of life in Bangladesh where his family will face discrimination, his father says.
The immigration department has ordered four-year-old Australian-born Fayyed Hoque and his family to leave the country because his autism has been deemed too burdensome for taxpayers.
Fayyad, along with his father Mohammad Hoque and mother Tonima Sultana, has only two months for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to intervene before they are all sent to Bangladesh — a country his parents left a decade ago and where Fayyad has never been.
“My son was born here, he hasn’t seen my country,” Mr Hoque told ninemsn. “He grew up in Australia and knows only Australia.”
Mr Hoque believes his family will face a dire situation if forced to move to Bangladesh where Fayyad will receive no developmental assistance in school.
“We don’t have any special needs schools for children. Those kids go to a normal school and they can’t keep up with other kids,” he said.
Mr Hoque, who recently opened his own real-estate business in Sydney’s west, fears if his family is sent to Bangladesh his wife Tonima will be ridiculed because of her son’s condition.
“My wife will be treated very badly in society — seen as doing something wrong in life and punished for it,” he said.
“She’ll be treated like furniture — even within her own family.”
In some parts of Bangladesh, children with disabilities are viewed as a divine punishment for the mother doing something wrong in her life, Mr Hoque said.
Often the mother is labelled a “witch” if her child is disabled.
The Hoques first applied for permanent residency before their son was born, but their files sat in the queue for three years.
When their case was assessed, two-year-old Fayyad’s autism saw him labelled a “person with permanent mild-to-moderate developmental delay” by the department.
Additional costs for Fayyad’s education were estimated to be $456,811.
In a submission to Mr Dutton for ministerial intervention, immigration lawyer Adam Khaze said the family believes this amount is “grossly inflated the health care and community services required”.
Having already covered the costs of their son’s development, the Hoques estimate Fayyad’s development costs will be closer to $30,985, based on more-recent assessments of his condition.
Following a public outcry in May, Mr Dutton intervened in a similar case to allow Maria Sevilla and her son Tyrone to remain in Australia when facing deportation due to Tyrone’s autism.
“I’m pleased we can provide assistance to a young boy who is in need of medical and educational support — as a generous country that’s what we do,” the minister said at the time.
ninemsn asked the Department of Immigration and Border Protection whether the Hoque family would granted the same consideration to justify ministerial intervention.
A spokesperson for the department said the minister “generally only intervenes in a relatively small number of cases presenting unique and exceptional circumstances”.
“The visa was refused because the individual did not meet the health requirement,” they added.
Liberal backbencher Craig Laundy has written to the minister on behalf of the family in the hope their appeal will be “considered appropriately”.
“They have worked had to create a comfortable life and believe that Fayyad’s condition is their responsibility and they are confident that they will bear the costs of any treatment,” Mr Laundy wrote.
“Furthermore, Fayyad will be attending a regular school and will largely be able to lead a normal life.”
The Hoques have a Change.org petition set up, calling on Mr Dutton to not to deport the family.