Federal Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is refusing to personally intervene in a visa dispute involving a Vietnamese student who was nearly beaten to death by a gang of neo-Nazis on a Melbourne street.
Bashing victim Minh Duong tells his story
Minh Duong, victim of a vicious racial attack in 2012, appeals to Scott Morrison in January to be allowed back to Australia after his visa was suddenly cancelled during an overseas visit.
Minh Duong, 23, has been left stranded in Vietnam after immigration officials declared him an unlawful non-citizen at Melbourne airport on January 8.
Minh had been at the airport to travel to Ho Chi Minh City to see his family for the first time since the savage race-hate attack.
He was ordered to immediately board a plane to Vietnam and told he was banned from returning to Australia for three years.
Minh was travelling with a good Samaritan, piano teacher adrian De Luca, who befriended the student after he heard about the savage attack.
A change.org petition started by Mr De Luca urging Mr Morrison to intervene in the case and allow Minh to return to Melbourne to complete his final year of studies now has more than 65,000 signatures.
A spokesperson for Mr Morrison said Minh's student visa had expired and was not cancelled.
Fairfax Media has a copy of a May 2010 email sent to Minh by the Immigration Department which confirms his original visa did not expire until March 15 this year.
But Mr De Luca said Immigration officials who confronted Minh at Melbourne airport claimed Minh's visa had expired on March 15 last year after it had been cut back a year because he had not been attending classes.
The reason Minh had not been at university was because he was recovering from the injuries he suffered during the June 2012 attack and he claims he was not told about the change to his visa.
Minh, who was studying for an advanced diploma of accounting at Swinburne University, was attacked on an Ascot Vale street by three members of a neo-Nazi gang.
He was punched, kicked, stabbed and had a brick smashed over his head with such force the brick broke in two.
Minh, who a judge said was almost unrecognisable as a human being after the bashing, suffered multiple cuts to the head, face and body; a fractured skull; a torn left cheek and lip requiring stitches and plastic surgery; stab wounds to the left forearm and lower back; the loss of several front teeth and numerous crooked teeth which required realignment or removal.
He needed facial reconstructive surgery and continues to receive treatment, particularly in relation to his jaw and dental problems.
"The department takes any acts of violence seriously," the spokesperson for Mr Morrison said in a statement released to Fairfax Media.
"Our overseas post will make contact with Mr Duong regarding this matter and to provide any assistance in support of a further student visa application.
"It is up to the individual to ensure they have a lawful basis to remain in or travel to Australia. We encourage people to approach the department should they need to resolve their immigration status.
"Mr Duong departed Australia on January 8 as an unlawful non-citizen since his last student visa expired on 15 March 2013. He currently does not have a valid visa to return to Australia, nor does he have a pending application with the department both onshore or offshore.
"No request by Mr Duong was made for the Australian government to do anything."