Duong Minh Tuan, 23, with serious injuries after a racially-based attack in Australia in 2012 / PHOTO COURTESY OF SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
A Vietnamese student who was nearly killed in a race-hate attack in 2012 in Australia is now fighting to get back to his studies in that country after being deported allegedly for overstaying his visa.
An online petition urging Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, to change his decision to cancel Duong Minh Tuan's student visa had gathered more than 85,500 signatures as of press time.
Tuan, 23, was refused entry to Australia at Melbourne Airport on January 8, as he was traveling back from Vietnam to continue his university education, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
He was ordered to immediately board a plane to his home country and told that he was banned from entering Australia for three years.
Local immigration officials said that his visa expired on March 15 last year, although Tuan had documents showing that his visa did not expire until March 15 this year.
Adrian De Luca, Tuan's friend and who was traveling with him at the time, was quoted as saying that the officials claimed the Vietnamese student visa had been cut back a year, because he had not been attending classes.
In response, Tuan showed his transcripts saying that he had just completed all his studies for 2013 at Melbourne's Swinburne University, but the officials still insisted him on leaving, De Luca said.
Tuan, who is one year away from finishing his Bachelor of Accounting, said he was not told about the change to his visa.
Meanwhile, De Luca said Tuan had missed his classes because he was recovering from the attack in June 2012.
In the assault, three neo-Nazi skinheads punched and kicked Tuan 70 times, stabbed him and smashed a brick over his head with such force that the brick broke in two, ABC News reported.
He was attacked when he was on his way home from his part-time job at a convenience store in Melbourne.
It left Tuan with severe swelling of his brain, severe swelling to his face, multiple fractures to the skull, multiple fractures to his jaw and multiple fractures to the orbital bone around his eye socket, Sergeant Kevin Burke, who investigated the bashing, was quoted as saying.
He's still awaiting AU$25,000 (US$22,000) worth of dental treatment, as his front teeth were smashed out.
His assailants were sentenced to 10 and four years in prison, according to the news report.
De Luca wrote in the online petition he initiated that Tuan, who has lived in Australia with his brother for the last six years, should be allowed to get back to finish his studies and get his dental treatment done.
"We have to take care of this young man. He's an international guest. ["¦] He came here; our citizens damaged him. Our citizens should fix him," the piano teacher, who befriended Tuan after the assault, told ABC News.
On the other hand, a statement from the Australian immigration minister's office said that it is investigating the apparent contradiction between its records and Tuan's regarding his visa expiry date, according to the news report.
In the meantime, the Australian embassy in Vietnam will contact the Vietnamese student to "provide any assistance in support of a further student visa application," the statement said.
"It is up to the individual to ensure they have a lawful basis to remain in or travel to Australia."
However, the statement also said that Tuan currently does not have a pending application with the department either onshore or offshore.
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