Aug 31, 2022

“I work, I don’t bludge, I contribute”: aged care nurse to be deported despite sector’s worker shortage

31_8_22 Clifford

An aged care nurse in South Australia is facing deportation despite the country’s hospital and aged care industries reporting a major shortage of workers in the profession.

Clifford Chisengalumbwe, 43, will be deported in just four weeks if the Federal Government does not grant him and his family permanent residency to stay in Australia.

The family’s current bridging visas, a temporary visa allowing you to stay in Australia while your immigration status is resolved, does not allow them to apply for permanent residency while residing in Australia, and is due to expire on September 30.

Mr Chisengalumbwe has been working in aged care since 2012 and has been an Enrolled Nurse at the Lerwin Nursing Home in Murray Bridge since 2017, but has covered many Registered Nursing shifts due to the workforce shortage.

He and his wife Ngoza, who also works in the aged care sector, first arrived in Australia from Zambia in 2006 and had their daughter Mckayla in 2014.

Mr Chisengalumbwe said he received an invitation from the State Government to apply for State Sponsorship, but he would still need to go offshore to apply and could wait up to two years for it to be granted. 

This lengthy process has put Mr Chisengalumbwe and his family in a difficult position, and he said it was “shocking” the Government wants to amend visa requirements for skilled workers from the Pacific Island without offering him any solution when he is already actively working in the sector.

“They’re not interested if I’m contributing [to society], but they’re looking for skilled workers and I am one of them,” Mr Chisengalumbwe said.

“I work, I don’t bludge, I contribute. The nursing home and the residents and their families all want me to work here. 

“If I go overseas, that’s a massive gap that won’t be bridged… We just have to wait for [the Federal Government’s] decision.” 

Having been in the country for 16 years, Australia is all Mr Chisengalumbwe and his family have known, particularly for his daughter Mckayla who was born at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and attends school in Murray Bridge.

Mckayla is not eligible for citizenship until she turns 10-years-old. 

“[Mckayla] has never been back to Zambia, she is in school here and is getting a lot of support,” Mr Chisengalumbwe said. 

“If we go back home, she won’t get that.” 

Lawyer and Chief Executive of Migration Solutions, Mark Glazbrook, who is legally representing the family, also told ABC News Mr Chisengalumbwe met the requirements to be given a skilled migration visa and deporting him would leave a massive hole in the community.

“When you have a look at the shortage of care workers, especially in regional areas, or Enrolled Nurses in this case, that [leaving the community] would have a significant impact on the quality and continuity of care for those people that Clifford is supporting,” Mr Glazbrook said. 

“Clifford is also training and mentoring up-and-coming nurses as well, so he’s providing a very valuable and important service not just to the residents and their family and his employer, but also younger people that are coming up through the nursing profession.”

Many Nurses and aged care workers are needed all over the country, as Australia is predicted to lose 110,000 aged care workers within a decade – or 400,000 workers by 2050.

The Jobs and Skills Summit, organised by the Federal Government, will begin tomorrow and will focus on skills shortages, wages growth and bargaining.

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  1. well, there is definitely a case to say that since the Commonwealth granted the Nadesalingam family permanent residency in Australia, the precedent has been set and should allow this family to stay too

  2. The Italian Aged Care Village WA is in the same predicament with one of our Italian aged care worker due to be deported because he failed the written English test. The qualified worker has been with the Village for ten years and is urgently needed amongst our Italian speaking residents. Unbelievable with the shortage of care workers required in the aged care community.

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