An Italian teenager with special needs faces being deported from Australia despite having lived here since she was one year old.
Benedetta Donagemma, 18, was given a three week deadline to leave Australia, along with her mother, Elisa Foscili, and father, Vanni, after he lost his job and his working visa during the Covid pandemic.
Immigration officials ‘red-flagged’ Elisa and Benedetta because they were attached to his working visa.
Adding to the issue is that immigration officials also claim Benedetta, who has a rare chromosome condition that renders her non-verbal, could be a ‘burden’ on the Australian healthcare system.
But her adoring family who are living in Sydney, are adamant this is not true.
Italian teenager, Benedetta Donagemma, who has special needs faces being deported from Australia despite having lived here since she was one (Pictured, Benedetta with her twin Matteo)
The Immigration Department’s stance threatens to tear the family apart because the couple’s other four children – including Benedetta’s twin, Matteo – are allowed to stay because they all secured student visas
‘Benedetta doesnt have any medical requirement in terms of disability she’s just non-verbal,’ Mr Donagemma said.
She doesn’t need hospital admissions or regular doctor’s appointments.
Vanni was employed as a geologist in the oil and gas sector in Australia in 2006 and he brought his five children with him.
The Immigration Department’s stance threatens to tear the family apart because the couple’s other four children – including Benedetta’s twin, Matteo – are allowed to stay.
They have all secured student visas.
‘If she was removed from my life it would be really, really devastating,’ Matteo Donagemma told A Current Affair.
Mum Elisa has secured 22,200 signatures in an online petition raising support for Benedetta.
‘Our family is tightly bound and we rely on one another,’ Ms Foscili wrote, tagging Immigration Minister Andrew Giles.
‘Benedetta is a sweet girl. She has excellent health and a good sense of humour. Her life depends on the connection to her twin brother Matteo and other siblings.’
Ms Foscili also argues that their family has contributed to Australian society by raising high-achievers. Pictured, daughter Chiara, an ice skating champion who has chosen to represent Australia
Ms Foscili says her daughter Benedetta relies on her siblings
Benedetta is closest to her twin, Matteo, who has just completed his HSC and is about to start university studying astronomy and astrophysics
She recently graduated from Year 12 at Clarke Road School in Hornsby.
The family points out they’ve never been in trouble and have paid their taxes.
In fact the Donagemmas have paid far more than many Aussie families because they have no access to free education or Medicare.
They also argue that their family has contributed to Australian society by raising high-achievers.
Benedetta’s twin Matteo, 18, just completed his HSC and is about to start university studying astronomy and astrophysics.
Daughter Chiara is an ice skating champion and chose to represent Australia at four World Championships. She’s also a qualified interior designer.
Andrea is a qualified chef and says the family is ‘hurting’ over a ruling that could split them apart.
Another son, Francesco, who studies mechanical engineering, says the family just wants to ‘make a life for ourselves and we’re not afraid of putting in the hard work’.
‘Australia is our home. My children belong to the Australian community and share its values,’ Ms Foscili said.
She claimed in her online petition that the situation shows that discrimination on the grounds of disability is ‘permissible in Australia’.
Mum Elisa has secured 22,200 signatures in an online petition raising support for Benedetta
‘A child’s disability is not a reason to deport them from the only life they have ever known, but discrimination on the grounds of disability against a particular group of people is permissible in Australia, highlighting the inconsistency between Disability Discrimination Act and the Migration Act,’ she wrote.
‘I am very worried about my daughter’s future, when my husband and myself will not be there anymore for her and she will be alone in Italy with her family far away in Australia.’
Eventually the Minister for Immigration, Andrew Giles, intervened and shifted Vanni, Elisa and Benedetta across to a tourist visa while their plea for permanent residence is being accessed.
Their case and immigration status is now likely to be resolved within two years.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk