A Hartlepool great-grandmother is facing deportation from Australia where she has lived for nine years after her final visa appeal was rejected.
Fran Davies, 77, moved to Perth to be with her two children and extended family following the death of her husband here.
Two years ago her permanent visa application was turned down by the Australian authorities as they say her health problems mean she is a financial burden to taxpayers.
Her family appealed the decision but, this week, a final tribunal also denied Fran’s visa.
Fran’s daughter Karen Brabham told the Mail: “We are absolutely devastated, completely devastated by it.
“It has really smacked us in the face. We can’t avoid it now.”
Fran has a blood condition and rheumatoid arthritis. She needs a monthly injections which cost $1,000 a month.
Her family fear her health will deteriorate if she is sent back to the UK where she has no-one.
Fran, who has made many friends and is part of her local church in Perth, told Australian TV: “This is a better country for me, I love it.”
Karen criticised the immigration system where people give up their lives to move to Australia and are allowed to stay indefinitely while a visa decision is pending.
She said: “If they didn’t they wouldn’t be faced with the trauma of being deported with nothing and no-one to go back to.
“That’s the thing that upsets me and my mum and brother.”
Fran’s family have applied for a ministerial intervention from Australia’s minister for immigration and home affairs.
“He is the only person that has the power to reverse the decision,” said Karen.
A tearful Fran said on TV: “Would he like to see his mother in the same situation?
“He needs to let me stay.”
They are now having to face up to the very real prospect that Fran could be deported.
Karen said: “In the meantime we have to prepare for the worst.”
But Fran’s family have relaunched an online petition, are seeking support from politicians and are talking to the British Consulate.
Karen said: “We just have to keep fighting. I’m going to do everything I possibly can.”
More than 5,000 people have now signed the online petition which can be found at www.change.org titled FightforFran.