Relatives of a terminally ill Pakistani man are making arrangements to fly to Australia after being granted visas.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the family of Hassan Asif had their visas approved after they were initially denied.
Mr Asif came to Australia as a student before being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The 25-year-old has only weeks to live, according to his Melbourne-based end-of-life care providers, but his mother and brother were denied visas to visit him.
Mr Dutton confirmed on Wednesday the visas have now been approved.
In an earlier press conference, he said the decision maker in charge of the initial application made the right decision on the initial information provided.
He said the person responsible for the initial application had to consider whether or not somebody coming to Australia was likely to make a claim for protection, or stay in Australia.
“In some cases that can result in millions of dollars of expense to the taxpayer,” he said.
“It may mean that somebody is here on welfare for an extended period of time so the consideration has to be in the national interest.”
Labor’s immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, earlier said Mr Dutton should intervene and reverse the “callous” decision.
“Short of there being some national security issues, common sense must surely prevail here and this dying man ought to be able to spend his last weeks with his family,” he said.
“For every compassionate Australian, it beggars belief what is now facing this man.”
Mr Asif is currently staying with the Melbourne City Mission youth homelessness refuge, whose director of homelessness and justice services, Sherri Bruinhout, said he was previously living in student accommodation.
Ms Bruinhout told the ABC he was no longer able to pay for accommodation when his illness took hold and that receiving the good news today was very emotional.
“Hassan’s brother got the news from the Australian Government in Pakistan and was straight on the phone to Hassan to tell him how wonderful the news is,” she said.
“I can tell you there were tears of happiness all round from Hassan and his family and from all the Melbourne City Mission staff and supporters that were with Hassan at the time.”
System needs fundamental change: Manne
The executive director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, David Manne, welcomed the decision by the Immigration Department, but said a full explanation of the original refusal was needed.
Mr Manne told the ABC it “beggars belief” the initial applications were refused.
“We do need to look very seriously at some fundamental changes in our system so that it doesn’t come to this type of situation where we’ve got the Minister for Immigration having to intervene and look at this individual circumstance,” he said.
“It shouldn’t come to that.”
Mr Manne said the system often resulted in decisions which impacted “harshly” on families and visa applicants.
He said these types of situations happened too often.
“It has taken this pressure, this public pressure … for it to reach this decision, which is a fair and humane decision,” he said.
“The big question here is how does our system allow for the situation where the family were banned in the first place.
“I can’t say that the system always responds compassionately.”