We thank Elisa, an Italian mother living in Perth, for this testimonial about her special daughter Benedetta and her situation with her Australian visa.
As far as general services for children and adults with special needs are concerned, Australia has nothing to envy to other countries. Their level is top and especially for children with cerebral palsy there is a lot going on.
However it is important to be aware that some services are available to permanent residents only. For instance staff helping at home and taking care of the child in order to let mummy have a bit of time off.
Visas in Australia for children with special needs
And obtaining visas in Australia for children with special needs can be a rough and troubled path. Prepare yourself to a long wait and to several medical visits.
My daughter Benedetta obtained her visa only for 2 years and after 4 to 5 months from our arrival. And it is not a resident visa, but a 457 visa linked to my husband’s working visa. The rest of the family got it faster and for a 4 years period (adults have to provide a medical check-up before arriving).
Even the second and third renewal of Benedetta’s visa have been painstakingly slow. And this despite my husband enjoying the support of a solid enterprise that acts as a warrant for him and his family, and takes care of all the paperwork.
Leaving Australia when your visa has expired
You might also want to inquire about leaving Australia when your visa has expired. I heard one case of a friend who was not allowed to get back in for three years. We chose not to go to Italy several times because of Benedetta’s visa. It had expired and was taking a long time to be renewed. If something like this happens to you, you might want to inquire about the possibility to get a special temporary permit. We didn’t do it.
All this happens because children with special needs potentially represent a cost for the government. They have to make sure your situation allows you to pay for any medical assistance your child might need. All this reflects in obtaining (or not) visas in Australia.
Last time Benedetta’s visa was renewed, my husband was asked to sign a document stating that should he decide in the future to apply for permanent residence, the government reserves the right to refuse it because of Benedetta. Moreover he had to engage to pay for any medical expense for the child. When all this has been done, the visa was renewed for 4 years.
All specialists like physiotherapist, logopedist, etc. for Benedetta, not to mention very expensive shots that she needs because of her condition, are paid privately by us.