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Is Lulu Jemimah’s English good enough? Immigration not convinced

Lulu Jemimah speaks and writes English better than many Australians.

Lulu Jemimah may be sent back to Uganda
Arts graduate Lulu Jemimah who may be sent back to Uganda despite speaking perfect English Photo: Justin McManus

But the 30-year-old graduate is soon to be forced to return Uganda because, in the words of the decision maker at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, “I am not satisfied that the applicant has competent English”.

Ms Jemimah’s case is a striking example of why rigid and inflexible immigration laws do not always serve Australia’s interest.

A university graduate, theatre producer, comedian and volunteer worker, Ms Jemimah is the victim of a simple paperwork oversight which has all but put her on a plane to Africa.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal member Mary Ann Cooper reluctantly said on Thursday that the law appeared “absurd” in this case, but that it did not permit her to overturn the Immigration Department’s decision.

Without the minister’s intervention, Ms Jemimah must leave the country in January.

To be eligible for a 485 post-study visa, an applicant must have completed an Immigration Department-endorsed English test within 36 months of the date their application was lodged. In Ms Jemimah’s case, she had easily passed the test 39 months before her application was sent.

What confused matters for Ms Jemimah was a letter of congratulations from Macquarie University’s deputy vice chancellor Deidre Anderson, written in December last year, after the Ugandan student was awarded a Bachelor of Arts-Media degree.

Source: Fairfax Media Corporation

Published Fri, 09 December 2016


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