Terry Young, the Federal Member for Longman, has thrown his support behind a local strawberry farmer who may be forced to leave Australia after his visa application was rejected.
Sangrae Kim, from Morayfield and known locally as Ray Kim, came to Australia in 2009 as a backpacker on a working holiday from South Korea.
In 2014 he took up an offer to run his own strawberry farm which trades as Oz Strawberry.
His farm is in Beerwah and employs 50-100 workers depending on seasonal fluctuations.
In 2017, Mr Kim applied to stay in Australia permanently under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, but his application has been rejected.
He has since lodged an appeal through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Mr Young has met with Mr Kim and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke to see if a solution could be found.
“Mr Kim has found a home here in Morayfield and is widely respected in the farming community,” Mr Young said.
“Good people like Mr Kim are an asset to our country and local community, employing locals and contributing to our economy.
“I am working with the department and the Minister to ensure common sense prevails in this matter.”
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said the department “does not comment on individual cases”.
The spokesperson added: “The Australian Government is committed to supporting regional areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Australian Government announced changes to our immigration program to strengthen our economy and boost regional areas.”
The spokesperson said Australia’s regional migration program consisted of:
- two skilled regional provisional visas that provide a pathway to permanent residence
- a skilled regional permanent resident visa (from November 2022)
- additional points under the Skilled Migration Points Test for skilled migrants nominated to live and work in regional Australia
- more options for international students who graduate from regional universities.
There's more news here