Georgian immigrant deprived of visiting dying husband

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Zanda Akhvlediani at her home. Photo: Mona Chatskin

A Georgian immigrant is restricted from returning home to visit her dying husband, as she patiently awaits her Permanent Residency visa.

Two weeks ago Zanda Akhvlediani’s husband was diagnosed with liver cancer, she cannot visit him due to being unable to leave the country on a Bridging visa.

Mrs Akhvlediani, from Tbilisi, Georgia, immigrated to Australia three years ago on a Business visa.

During her time in Australia, Mrs Akhvlediani has been working and contributing towards Australian society. She sends almost all the money she makes back to her family in Tbilisi, where her two sons and husband live.

This is one of many circumstances which highlights the exceedingly slow immigration process.

Case Officer, Partner Migration Second stage, Valerie Korn from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship attests that there is nothing Mrs Akhvlediani can do except apply for an alternative visa.

“The department doesn’t change its rules for special circumstances,” Mrs Korn said.

While there is nothing that can be done for Mrs Akhvlediani, future circumstances can be prevented if the visa application process is hastened.

When asked if there is anything the Australian government can do, Mrs Korn said, “Obviously they (government) can do something. To start with, they can employ more people who process visas. But they are currently cutting jobs at the Department of Immigration, like everywhere else in Australia.”

Cutting jobs prophesises an even slower process of approving visas.

Approximately 190,000 visas are distributed each year, with 27,000 alone being designated to Partner Migration visas.

“The Australian government’s view is that they want more young and skilled migrants in Australia. That way they can have more people that can contribute to society by working and paying taxes,” Mrs Korn said.

The Migration Programme statistics report found that 68 per cent of migrants are skilled migrants, and 32 per cent are from family visa streams.

For Mrs Korn’s auntie, who is on the waiting list for a Remaining Relative visa, the official waiting period is 56 years. Thus further epitomising the laborious immigration process.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship aims “to welcome and integrate successfully millions of people from many ethnic groups and cultural traditions”.

Despite the hardship Mrs Akhvlediani is faced with, she still says “people dream of this country…I don’t think there is any country like this”.

Mrs Akhvlediani’s immigration story exemplifies the extreme lengths foreigners take to come to Australia.

“I had to ‘toe the line’ and pay someone money in Georgia to speed up the application process for a visa,” Mrs Akhvlediani said.

Mrs Akhvlediani “wanted a new start for myself and my family”, and chose for that start to begin in Australia.

The ‘Life in Australia’ handbook published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, boasts Australia’s “compassion for those in need” and “a strong tradition of ‘mateship’”. These are essential notions of support for individuals like Mrs Akhvlediani.

Here you feel like a person…You feel free,” Mrs Akhvlediani said.


Mental health patients need more specialised care from paramedics

Health-care professionals have reported feeling that they lack the adequate skills to provide care for mentally ill patients.

The Australasian Journal of Paramedicine reported that 18% of Australians, almost one in five, suffer from a mental illness.

Paul Bentley, Senior Media Liaison at Ambulance Victoria, conveys the challenges encountered by paramedics.

One paramedic daily is subject to physical violence, and Mr Bentley presses that Ambulance Victoria’s paramedics are “not punching bags”.

In order to reduce challenges to at least some portion of paramedics, a separate unit of ambulance services, specialising in mental health, may be the best solution.Grade three registered psychiatric nurse, ANUM (associated nurse unit manager) for Monash Health, Ross Chatskin, has worked with Monash Health for ten and a half years – dealing specifically with clients suffering from severe mental illnesses.

In his time as a psychiatric nurse, every single one of his patients has required the assistance of Ambulance Victoria.

In the vast majority of these instances, patients “respond to paramedics with trust. They perceive them as a great help,” Mr Chatskin said.

However, response time has become an issue. In one incident, it took paramedics three and a half hours to arrive after believing the case was a false alarm.

“Dispatchers had prioritised for our client to be on the bottom of the dispatch list,” Mr Chatskin said.

Mr Bentley believes response time is “not the only measure of an ambulance service”, yet the often delayed response time only further suggests the need for a specialised sector of paramedics trained to treat those who are mentally ill.

Mr Chatskin notes that ideally, a specialised ambulance service would be extremely beneficial but unfortunately for now, “this would be too costly”.

While this vision is not yet a reality, the success of Ambulance Victoria is slowly achieved “with mutual understanding and respect, it would be easier for people to develop a tolerance towards the little flaws within the (ambulance) service,” Mr Chatskin says.

Sorrento fishermen reported missing

A search has begun for three missing Sorrento fishermen, who failed to return from their fishing trip last night.

Last night’s weather was the coldest August night in 23 years. With an air temperature at 0 degrees Celsius, leaving Inspector Rod Cathall of Victoria police, “very pessimistic” of the men’s return.

The Victorian Bureau of Meteorology has acknowledged that the freezing weather conditions can kill those exposed to it, which instills fears regarding the men’s prospect of life.

Fred Smith, John Taylor and Bill Smith are senior members of the local tennis club, as well as local fire fighters.

Victorians will pay to create a greener future

Electricity prices will increase due to the opening of Werribee’s Billiang Wind Farm, despite the progressions towards an eco friendly future.

The establishment of the wind farm seeks to create a “cleaner, greener world” for Victoria, with greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 8 per cent per annum. This improvement, aims to inspire “our fellow Australians.”

In order to create this utopia, Hazelwood Power Station has closed, and consequently resulted in workers needing to be reemployed in a carbon-free economy.

Whilst initially there were protests regarding the proximity of the wind farm, Balliang Wind Farm has nevertheless granted power for 200,000 homes and will provide 200 Victorians with work.

Yet Australians will have to pay, literally, for the creation of a greener future. The Minister for Energy and Resources, Stacy Petros, warns Victorians of the increasing trend of electricity prices that will come.