SBS language | Calling from a Canberran family to call Australia their permanent home


Safety and security are the two main reasons Joey and his wife Rezy decided to leave the Philippines for Australia in 2014. The couple would like their children, Ysabella, Phoenix and Patricia, to grow up in a safe environment where they can live. can achieve their goal. dreams and succeed in the career they have chosen.

However, the status of the Jestingor family in Australia is still uncertain as they ask Home Secretary Karen Andrews to stay in Australia permanently.


Strong points

  • The Jestingor family’s application for permanent residence was refused due to Patricia’s state of health
  • Ministerial intervention is now required to decide the fate of the family in Australia
  • An online signature campaign has been launched to raise awareness and support the family’s appeal to Home Secretary Karen Andrews

Road to Australia

In January 2014, Joey traveled to Sydney because he was asked to appear in person at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to be assessed as a Qualified Registered Nurse in Australia.

“When I landed [in Sydney] and given the location, it was beautiful. I thought right away that’s where I want my family to live, ”recalls Joey.

The Jestingor family applied for permanent residence in 2015, but were refused due to Patricia’s medical condition.

Joey jestingor

After registering, he moved to Queanbeyan in New South Wales to seek a job sponsor to obtain a temporary (qualified) work visa 457. The search was not easy. He tried to contact a number of local nursing homes, including Canberra, for two months, but all rejected him.

Fortunately, a friend of his, who attends the same church as he and works at the Canberra hospital, told him about a vacancy in the orthopedic department. Without any hesitation, he goes to the nurse manager’s office and introduces himself as a suitable candidate. The leap of faith paid off as he was offered the job.

Jestingor family, visa refusal, permanent residence

The Jestingor family in the Philippines

Ysabella Jestingor

Before Joey started working at the hospital, he returned to the Philippines and waited for the release of the 457 visa. In November 2014, his whole family followed him to Australia with enthusiasm and with high hopes of building. a life in their new home.

The Jestingor family settled comfortably in Australia where they met new friends and built a strong network of support in the church they are affiliated with. The support group helped the family adjust and became an extended member of their family.

Jestingor family, visa refusal

Jestingor family with the Christian Church Queanbeyan congregation

Yssabella Jestingor

“In the few months we have been here [in Queanbeyan], we would join gatherings with our comrades kababayes who are also part of the church. It was like that during our transition period. We were lucky to be in a community with really nice people.

Her children also became more comfortable in school where they excelled. Ysabella, her eldest daughter, received an academic award at Wollongong and is currently in her second year of college in Biomedical Sciences, while Phoenix is ​​currently working on a science degree.

Jestingor family, visa refusal

Jestingor siblings: Ysabella, Phoenix and Patricia in a park

Ysabella Jestingor

“From the first day we moved here, we knew this was where we wanted to live. We did not resell all of our assets in the Philippines for a mini vacation in Australia. I believe we are now part of the community here at Queanbeyan. It’s home now.

Although the transition went smoothly, the family’s dream of permanently residing in Australia is still in limbo.

The call

The Jestingor family’s visa trip has been long and winding, putting too much pressure on the family, especially Joey and Rezy. The couple had not anticipated that this roadblock would take place. When the family arrived here in 2014, the path to the residence seemed simple and clear.

Jestingor family, visa refusal, permanent residence

Jestingor family strolling through Queanbeyan

Ysabella Jestingor

However, their family’s application for permanent residence through the employer sponsorship component was refused in 2016 due to the state of health of her youngest daughter. Patricia is autistic and blind. It became the wall that separated them from obtaining residency.

“When our application for permanent residence was denied, I consulted with a migration company in Sydney to help us determine the next steps. Fortunately, Canberra Hospital was willing to grant me another 457 temporary visa which allowed my family to stay in Australia for four more years.

In 2017, they heard from the Home Office about their 457 visa application. The case officer was sympathetic to the family’s situation and granted them the 457 visa, but left out. Patricia.

After discussing the outcome with their migration agent, Joey decided to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal regarding Patricia’s case.

This is also the same year that the change was introduced in the Temporary Skilled Worker Visa. Starting with visa subclass 457, the Home Office introduced the visa 482, which allows skilled workers to stay in Australia temporarily without the possibility of permanent residence.

Meanwhile, Joey was scrambling to find an employer who would be willing to sponsor him so they could extend their stay in Australia. Three months passed but he was unlucky.

One faithful day, the director of nursing at Canberra Hospital spoke to him and offered Joey four more years. Due to recent visa changes, it was made clear to her that this would be the last temporary work visa they would issue to her.

Jestingor family

The Jestingor family in Australia

Ysabella Jestingor

In March 2021, the court returned to Joey with his verdict. The AAT said: Since Patricia was refused when they applied for a 457 visa and the appeal was based on that, the terms of the 457 visa will apply to Patricia’s case.

This means that they cannot grant Patricia a health waiver available to 482 visa holders. Only ministerial intervention can now reverse the decision.

Joey wrote letters to ACT ministers, members of parliament and politicians asking for support, but nothing positive has come of his efforts. The appeal has now been forwarded to the Home Affairs Office. His lawyer made it clear to him that there was no guarantee that the appeal would even be considered.

“My lawyer said that only 17% of all appeals that have been filed with the Home Secretary’s office will be considered.”

With the help of their pastor at the church, Joey’s family have started an online petition to garner community support and raise awareness for their case, hoping Minister Karen Andrews will notice.

He understands they are running out of options, but he still hopes they will be approved with ministerial intervention.

What the future holds

The family had to make the necessary adjustments to move forward and make ends meet. Due to the long and winding visa application process, the family finances have been affected.

Joey’s children also don’t have a network of friends in the Philippines. They have all matured here. Australia is their home now. It would be difficult for them to start over if they were removed from the community in which they grew up.

Joey and Rezy are also active members of their religious ministry.

Jestingor family, visa refusal, permanent residence

Joey runs a church service

Ysabella Jestingor

“Our ultimate goal is to finally have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence in Australia. We have no more options due to my daughter’s state of health and I have already passed the age required to apply for permanent residence.

He hopes those in the post can help them overcome their visa challenge. As a father, he only wants the best future for his family.

And he hopes those who can reverse the decision realize that their family isn’t just a number. They are a hardworking family who just want the chance to thrive in this prosperous country.

“We are good people. We contribute to our community and pay our taxes. We are doing what the Australians are doing. The only difference is that we are not official permanent residents. This is where we belong now. Australia is our home, ”says Joey.

As of this writing, the online campaign now has nearly 18,000 signatures and still counts.

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