THE future life in Australia for 22-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Mojgan Shamsalipoor remains “in limbo” despite her release from detention last month.
She was awarded a bridging visa and released into the arms of her Australian resident husband Milad Jafari on September 21 after two years in detention centres in Brisbane and Darwin.
It is understood that Ms Shamsalipoor was one of at least five Iranian asylum seekers – all who arrived in Australia by boat and held in detention – who were awarded bridging visas by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
However the lawyer for Ms Shamsalipoor admits his client now faces an “impossible catch-22” to remain in Australia.
“The difficulty for Mojgan now is that she is in limbo. The bridging visa that the minister granted is temporary – it is granted for three months,” Kevin Kadirgamar, who works for the Darwin-based legal firm Ward Keller, said.
“We believe the minister will renew that. But he is essentially casting a shadow of doubt and uncertainty over her life in Australia.”
On the day of her release, Ms Shamsalipoor celebrated with her husband Milad and supporters, and the young couple strolled along a Brisbane beach together – fulfilling one of their simple, long-held wishes for freedom.
“I’m happy that I’m free and that I’m with him (Milad) and my family and maybe for now to see what will happen,” Ms Shamsalipoor, who sought asylum in Australia in 2012 after fleeing an arranged marriage to a 60-year-old man, and several assaults in Iran, said.
If returned to Iran, she fears the prospect of prison and physical threats, exacerbated by her decision to take part in multicultural dance festivals.
Mr Kadirgamar said his client’s only option would be to apply for a partner’s visa, and that type of application could not be made in Australia because Ms Shamsalipoor is classed as an “unauthorised maritime arrival”.
“And if she applied for a partner’s visa from outside Australia, that would be put on hold on an ‘indefinite basis’ due to current government policies on people who arrive by boat,” he said.
“In practical terms, her application is not allowed to be even looked at in the foreseeable future.”
Ms Shamsalipoor’s bridging visa expires on December 21, when it will be up to Mr Dutton to decide whether to renew it.
Mr Kadirgamar called on Mr Dutton to intervene and allow Ms Shamsalipoor to apply for a partner’s visa.
“What the minister has done now, by finally granting her overdue freedom from detention, is recognise that she has never been a threat to anyone,” he said.
However, a spokesman for Mr Dutton ruled out the possibility that “illegal maritime arrivals” could obtain permanent visas.
“They are not refugees and are expected to return to their countries of origin,” he said.
By Mark Bowling