The family of a Hartlepool grandmother are campaigning to save her from being deported from Australia after her visa application to stay was rejected because she is too ill.
Fran Davies, 75, emigrated from the town to Perth to be with her only surviving family members seven years ago after her husband died.
But Fran, who has a serious blood disorder and other health problems, faces being sent back to the UK, where she has nothing, after her application for a permanent visa was refused.
The Australian authorities say her poor health means she could be a burden to the country’s healthcare system.
Fran said: “Are they heartless enough to do that to me? I don’t know how long I would last in England.”
She is appealing against the decision and her family, including children Karen Brabham, 51, and Kevin Stevens, 47, have launched an online petition to try to persuade the Australian government to let her stay.
Are they heartless enough to do that to me? I don’t know how long I would last in England.Fran Davies
Fran, who was married to Brian Davies and used to run Brus Hardware shop in Hartlepool, developed the blood disorder around 18 months after moving to Australia in 2009.
She has had numerous blood transfusions and the cold can make the condition worse. Fran also has arthritis and her family worry about the impact that being deported could have on Fran’s already fragile health.
Karen said: “The thing that worries us most is if she is sent back to a cold climate, it wouldn’t be very good at all.
“This decision is causing her a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights. She is really frightened to go back to nothing. To do that to mum when she is like she is with no family and all the financial burden it’s going to cause her is just cruel.”
Choking back tears, Fran said: “My house went, all my furniture. I have no one. I can’t imagine getting off a plane at Newcastle Airport and nobody to pick me up and no home, so what would I do?”
Fran, a grandmother of four, receives a British pension and pays for her own medicine. She is also a member of her local church, where she makes clothes for poor children in other countries.
She added: “I’ve got a home, I’ve got a roof over my head and a bed to lay down in. And I’ve got my family.”
Appealing to the Australian authorities, she added: “I just want them to have some compassion for me and my family. Come on Australia, you can do better than this.”
Fran’s two children Karen and Kevin have set up the online petition called FightforFran on the website change.org
Karen added: “Mum was a very well-liked person in Hartlepool. I’m sure a lot of people remember her. We are making a plea with people to go onto the website and sign the petition.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said: “The Department is aware of Ms Frances Davies case. While we cannot comment on the details of her case or the specific reasons for refusal, we can confirm that most visas for Australia require applicants to meet the migration health requirement set out in Australian migration law.
“The health requirement is an objective assessment to determine whether the care of the individual in Australia would likely result in significant costs to the Australian community or prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to services in short supply.
“A visa cannot be granted where an applicant fails to meet the health requirement and where a health waiver is not available or has not been exercised.
“Where a person has had a visa application refused they are generally able to seek review of that decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, however there are strict time limits for lodging such an appeal.”
The petition can be found at: www.change.org/p/department-of-immigration-and-border-protection-fightforfran