Christopher Adekunle & Samara Van der Heyden

Chris and Samantha start a new life in Melbourne, Victoria

Chris and Samantha start a new life in Melbourne, Victoria

My Fiancée and I decided to get married after 7 years of being together, with 4 of those years being done through a long distance relationship.

My fiancée sponsored me for a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa in November 2010.

As the Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) leads to a permanent visa it was subject to the rigorous medical testing requirements applied to all Australian permanent visas. This in itself is generally not a problem for most people, but I already knew I would not meet the medical requirements because I had a persistent genetic medical condition.

I wisely informed Hannibal and his colleagues of this before we submitted the application. This gave him a chance to get to grips with my illness and to gather the necessary information he might need to apply for a medical waiver, all before we had submitted the application or me even taking the medical test.

Before a decision was reached on my medicals I was alerted to the fact that they would need to be assessed by the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) and was invited to submit additional information to the MOC before a decision was made.

Hannibal’s pre-emptive understanding of the nature of my disease and its effect on my lifestyle and ability to earn a living allowed him to structure a response with the evidence my doctor and me provided that was able to add a further perspective to the initial results of the medical examination.

As expected I failed the medical test and therefore the public interest criterion applied to all permanent visas. Due to my application being a partner visa I was given the opportunity to apply for a medical waiver.

The medical waiver would be based on proving the assessment of the MOC not to be undue to the Australian people. Proving this was based on the ability to receive a favourable assessment from the MOC, if such a thing can exist.

However Hannibal’s foresight in planning for this possibility through providing the MOC with detailed medical records that sufficiently highlighted the effect of my disease on my life and my ability to earn a living was good enough to influence the MOC decision maker into providing me with a waiver assessment which many would consider favourable, and which was the starting point for the arguments Hannibal constructed for me in successfully applying for a waiver of the medical criterion.

This process took nine months from start to finish but the assurances from Hannibal and his team gave me hope throughout the process.

Thanks Hannibal and your team for helping me and my future wife start our new life together in Australia.

Christopher Adekunle & Samara Van der Heyden

Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300) Visa