An African woman who was denied permission to travel to Australia for facial reconstruction surgery by the Gillard government has had a second visa application approved.
Ayaan Mohamed, 25, suffered horrific facial injuries when she was shot as an infant during Somalia’s brutal civil war.
Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital and Rotary offered to bring Ayaan to Australia for the complicated surgery free of charge, but she was denied a medical visa last March.
Ayaan made a second visa application in October, which Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has now approved.
“Following discussions with the Australian High Commission, she applied again and the department is now satisfied she has met all the visa requirements,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
The government’s decision comes after more than 40,000 people petitioned Mr Morrison on Ayaan’s behalf.
Petition organiser Noela Phillips, from the Rotary Club of Brisbane High-Rise, said she was thrilled that both Ayan and her advocate Edna Adan had now been granted visas.
“This is just so exciting and it is a great demonstration of people power,” she said.
“For Ayaan, the Australian government’s decision will allow her to enjoy a life of dignity, free from daily embarrassment.”
Ayaan’s surgery is expected to go ahead on February 22.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story failed to acknowledge that Ayaan Mohamed’s first visa application was rejected by the Gillard government.