From the Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia):
The immigration department has defended its decision to deny residency to a German doctor because his son is disabled.
Bernhard Moeller moved with his family to rural Horsham in Victoria two years ago to help fill a doctor shortage.
Dr Moeller has a temporary 457 visa which is valid until 2010, but has been denied permanent residency because his 13-year-old son, Lukas, has Down Syndrome.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said Dr Moeller's application had been refused because Lukas did not meet the health requirement.
"A medical officer of the commonwealth assessed that his son's existing medical condition was likely to result in a significant and ongoing cost to the Australian community," a departmental spokesman said.
"Decisions by these medical officers are legally binding. The department must follow them." The department stressed the decision was not discriminatory.
"A disability in itself is not grounds for failing the health requirement - it is a question of the cost implications to the community."
The health requirement contains spending on health and community services, he said.
"If we did not have a health requirement, the costs to the community and health system would not be sustainable."
Dr Moeller intends to appeal the decision to the Migration Review Tribunal.
Immigration Minister Chris Evans has no power to intervene in the case until such time as the tribunal or a court affirms the department's decision.