Federal Politics

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Teen refugee loses High Court reunion bid

A teenage Afghan refugee has failed in a High Court bid to be reunited with his mother and four siblings, who are now living in Pakistan.

Justices French, Bell and Gageler dismissed a challenge to a decision by an Immigration Department official who rejected visa applications in part because the teenager's father, who has been missing since 2003, had not given his consent.

The court ruled that the official's refusal of the visa was legally sound and not in breach of the rules of natural justice.

The immigration department official had ruled that the children's home country was Afghanistan and he was not satisfied that the law of that country permitted the removal of the children.

The official also found that those who could lawfully determine where the children were to live included their father or, if he was dead, his relatives – and was not satisfied that any of them consented to the grant of the visas.

Lawyers for Javed Tahiri had argued that it had been difficult to secure approval from the father's relatives because the mother and four siblings had been forced to flee to Pakistan.

Mr Tahiri, 19, who was granted refugee status in 2009, is living in Dandenong and studying to be an accountant, but says he is consumed by concern about his mother and siblings, aged eight, 13, 16 and 17.

"It is hard to find meaning in my life when my family are not safe and are scared every day," he told Fairfax Media before the court's decision.