A distraught wife who discovered her husband’s spouse visa had been refused during a documentary took an overdose off-camera as the filming carried on.
In the first episode of SBS’s new documentary series Who Gets to Stay in Australia? which aired on Wednesday night, Satinder’s lawyer delivered the heartbreaking news that the visa was rejected.
The lawyer says: “Unfortunately … they’ve decided to refuse the visa. They don’t believe it is a genuine relationship.”
Satinder bursts into tears and tells the camera crew: “If anything happens to me, Australian Immigration Department, Peter Dutton, David Coleman, I do have their emails, which shows no sympathy.
“Indian authorities who went to Sumit’s home to do an interview and without giving any solid reason, they are giving a decision that his visa has been refused, should held responsible for my death.”
She then walked to the kitchen and reached for a glass of water before disappearing in the bathroom to take an overdose.
Satinder returns after a long wait and issues a dire message to the Department of Home Affairs that if anything bad happens to her they are responsible.
Her chilling words had raised concerns for the camera crew, who suspected something was wrong and called an ambulance.
Satinder and husband Sumit, both in their 30s and from India, met as students in Melbourne in 2007.
Their story is one of 13 featured in the four-part documentary investigating the mental health impact of Australia’s immigration system on visa applicants.
Satinder became an Australian citizen in 2015 and Sumit had to apply for a spouse visa with her in order to stay in the country.
He was forced to fly back to India to wait for the approval process after previously overstaying a visa.
Immigration lawyer Yunn Chen, who delivered the visa results to Satinder, said: “Immigration law in Australia is complex and there’s a lot of subjectiveness to it. When she received the result, it’s just a build-up of years of trying to prove yourself and prove the relationship.
“Mental health isn’t just a quick decline. It chips away at you and then when you’ve got a decision like that after three years of hoping and waiting, that can just break you.”
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.