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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 05:29 GMT
104-yr-old refused Australia visa
A 104-year-old Chinese woman who has lived in Australia for a decade has been refused a visa to stay, under the nation's tough immigration rules.

Cui Yu Hu has been denied an aged parent visa, which she needs in order to stay in Melbourne with her daughter.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said she would review the case and treat it with "compassion".

She said she could not say whether Mrs Hu would be allowed to stay because she had not received the case file.

"But I can say that the compassion with which the department looked at this and tried to make an arrangement that she could stay here peacefully and lawfully for the rest of her life, is the same compassion that I'll bring to the file when I finally get it," Senator Vanstone told the Nine Network TV channel.


Mrs Hu first came to Australia on a 12-month visitor visa in 1995, but when she tried to leave, no airline would take her because they said she was too old and frail.

So she stayed in Australia on a bridging visa, and even received a letter of congratulation from Prime Minister John Howard when she turned 104 earlier this year.

But she has now been told she has no status in Australia.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, her only surviving relatives are her adopted daughter and son-in-law, who live with her in Melbourne.

All her family in China are dead.

Through an interpreter, Mrs Hu told the newspaper that she would be grateful and thankful if she was allowed to stay in Australia.

Tough rules

A spokesman for the Immigration Department insisted there was no suggestion Mrs Hu would be deported.

He said that she would have a bridging visa while her appeal was outstanding, and if the appeal was unsuccessful then a minister could intervene in the case.

Australia's tough immigration rules and mandatory detention regime for illegal immigrants have already been heavily criticised by human rights groups.

Earlier in February, a mentally ill Australian woman was found to have been wrongfully detained in an immigration detention centre for 10 months, because authorities had mistakenly believed she was an illegal German immigrant.

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