Indian student's detention breached migration law

China Visa application    

The Immigration Department is facing more controversy over the detention of an Indian student.

Prashant Cherkupalli came to Australia to study engineering but ended up spending almost 18 months in the Villawood Detention Centre for working without a visa.

The Human Rights Commission has now found his detention breached the Migration Act and that the Federal Government owes him hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.

Mr Cherkupalli still faces deportation and his lawyers say it's time the Immigration Minister did the right thing and intervened.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Prashant Cherkupalli came to Australia to study for a master's degree in engineering. His ordeal began though in late 2004 when he was picked up by immigration officials for working in a bakery in western Sydney without the correct visa.

PRASHANT CHERKUPALLI: I came to Australia to get a job and get a permit and yeah, to settle down but things have gone wrong for me and I end up in detention where I should not end up.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: He spent the next 509 days in the Villawood Detention Centre.

PRASHANT CHERKUPALLI: It not easy like counting every day to get out from there and get back on the studies and get back on the job.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Prashant Cherkupalli was released in April 2006. He's remained in the country on a series of bridging visas. He lodged his case with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Earlier this month it released its findings.

Tom Mithieux from Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers is Mr Cherkupalli's solicitor.

TOM MITHIEUX: That detention was found by the Human Rights Commission to be an arbitrary detention and there have been recommendations made subsequently by the Commission including recommendations in relation to compensation and also some other recommendations including an apology and that Mr Cherkupalli be put into a position that he would have been but for this period of arbitrary detention.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The report also recommended Prashant Cherkapulli be paid almost $600,000 in compensation.

TOM MITHIEUX: It takes into account general damages which is generally looking at the hurt and humiliation I suppose of being arbitrarily detained for that period of time. There is also some scope for past economic loss.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The Human Rights Commission's recommendations are not binding. Prashant Cherkupalli's lawyers have also lodged a claim for unlawful imprisonment in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

But despite what the HRC's findings that he was wrongly detained, Mr Cherkupalli is still facing possible deportation.

Tom Mithieux wants the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, to do what he says is the right thing and grant his client permanent residency.

TOM MITHIEUX: There have been requests for ministerial intervention in the past. They have been rejected however in light of these findings and the final publication of the Human Rights Commission report, the Minister has again been called to intervene and to put Mr Cherkapalli in a position that he would have been but for this period of detention and really that means giving him permanent residency.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: A spokesman for the Immigration Department says a response to the Human Rights Commission's report will be made by the end of the week.

TONY EASTLEY: Michael Edwards reporting. And for the record Mr Cherkapalli now has a master's in engineering.

disposable vaccum filterSPE ColumnSPE Cartridgesyringe

Validity of Visa
A single entry Chinese visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue, and a double entry visa is valid for 6 months. A China visa holder must enter China before the expiration date for the visa to remain valid.
Duration of Stay
The duration of stay is specified on a Chinese visa. Chinese visa holders must not stay beyond the specified date without extending their visas. Otherwise, they will be subject to stiff penalties.