Devastated wife takes an overdose after hearing her husband can't get a visa in Australia

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Devastated wife takes an overdose after hearing her husband can't get a visa in Australia

Heartbreaking moment devastated wife disappears into her bathroom to take an overdose after hearing her husband can't get a visa to li

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Heartbreaking moment devastated wife disappears into her bathroom to take an overdose after hearing her husband can’t get a visa to live in Australia

  • Satinder and Sumit, both in their 30s and from India, married in Australia in 2015
  • The newlyweds applied for a spouse visa for Sumit but he had to wait in India
  • They were told it was rejected in 2019, during the making of a documentary
  • She excused herself from the cameras and took an overdose in the bathroom 
  • Couple’s story aired on Wednesday’s episode of Who Gets to Stay in Australia?

A distraught wife whose husband was rejected for an Australian spousal visa fled into a bathroom and took an overdose while filming a documentary.

The confronting incident was caught on camera as the couple filmed a programme about the country’s immigration system. 

Melbourne woman Satinder and her husband Sumit, both in their 30s and from India, married in Australia in 2015 after three years of dating.   

The newlyweds applied for a spouse visa for Sumit so he could stay in Victoria with his Australian-citizen wife, but he had to wait out the approval process in India after previously overstaying a visa.  

In the first episode of SBS’s new documentary series Who Gets to Stay in Australia?, which aired on Wednesday night, Satinder’s lawyer delivered the heartbreaking verdict the visa was rejected.     

Satinder and her husband Sumit, both in their 30s and from India, married in 2015 (pictured together). The couple first met as students in Melbourne in 2007

Satinder and her husband Sumit, both in their 30s and from India, married in 2015 (pictured together). The couple first met as students in Melbourne in 2007

At the time of filming, in 2019, the couple had spent more than three and a half years on separate continents. 

‘Unfortunately … they’ve decided to refuse the visa. They don’t believe it is a genuine relationship,’ the lawyer explains in the first episode which aired on Wednesday.

The lawyer tells Satinder the next step would be to appeal the decision, a process that can take more than two years. 

‘I have already waited three and a half years, this is not a fake relationship,’ Satinder says through tears. 

‘I know now want I want to do.’

The lawyer says she believes there is still a chance, but Satinder responds ‘there is no hope’.

She excuses herself from the table, passing her phone to a SBS producer as she goes to the kitchen sink and fills a glass of water before going to the bathroom where she takes an overdose. 

After a long-wait she returns, and issues a dire message to the Department of Home Affairs that if anything bad happens to her they are responsible.

Her chilling warning caused concern among the camera crew, who suspected something was wrong and called an ambulance.   

Satinder and Sumit’s story is one of 13 featured in the four-part documentary investigating the mental health impact of Australia’s immigration system on visa applicants.

More than 25,000 applications for permanent residency in Australia are refused each year. 

After spending more than three years for the government to reach a decision, the devastating news Sumit's visa had been refused drove Satinder (pictured) to try to take her own life

After spending more than three years for the government to reach a decision, the devastating news Sumit’s visa had been refused drove Satinder (pictured) to try to take her own life

Muradiye Selvi, a consultant psychologist working in Melbourne, said many of her patients are temporary visa holders who are waiting for a decision from the Department of Home Affairs.

‘The sense of insecurity, the prolonged waiting and the inability to set up a future for yourself – along with the fear of removal from the host country – these cause migrants on temporary visas detrimental mental health issues,’ she told SBS News.

Ms Selvi said the diagnosis she sees can include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, psychosomatic disorders and adjustment disorder. 

‘They’re waiting for their residency to be able to continue the life that they had planned here in this country, so they’re living in this state of protracted uncertainty,’ she said.

‘Major depressive disorder is also one that we have to work with intensely. Unfortunately, one of the major symptoms is suicide ideation. The mindset is “I might as well die rather than go back”. It’s an utter sense of despair.’

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