SCENARIO Shilpa is an Australian citizen who has been living in Malaysia for the last 18 months. Shilpa has cared for Vafa, who is three years old and a Malaysian citizen, for the last sixteen months. She has not formally adopted Vafa and there are no custody arrangements in place. Vafa’s mother died during childbirth and her father, Ram, left her with Shilpa sixteen months ago, saying that he could not cope and needed a break. However, he never returned and no one in their family or in the village has heard from him since. Shilpa, who is Vafa’s father’s sister, does not expect him to return and is committed to caring for Vafa for the rest of her childhood. There are no other family members that have the capacity to care for Vafa in Malaysia, and Vafa has built a strong bond with Shilpa. Vafa was so young when Shilpa began caring for her that she does not know any different and thinks that Shilpa is her mother. Vafa has recently been granted a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa so that she can come to Australia with Shilpa. Her visa is in the Tourist stream and she is subject to conditions 8101, 8201 and 8501. Shilpa needs to return to Australia because her brother, Bik, who is a permanent resident, is very ill and she needs to help her sister-in-law with their three young children. While the visit is only intended to be temporary, Shilpa is considering the possibility of exploring permanent residency for Vafa. It would make it easier if they could go between the two countries without any hassles, and Shilpa has always wanted to relocate back to Australia. Once Shilpa and Vafa arrive in Australia, Shilpa comes to see you to seek your advice about whether Vafa has any visa options. QUESTION 1. Is Vafa eligible for a permanent visa? If so, briefly explain which visa(s) and why the visa(s) would be appropriate for Vafa’s circumstances. 2. If Vafa applies for a visa while she is in Australia as the holder of the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa, which bridging visa would she be eligible for? Would she be able to travel between Australia and Malaysia while she holds this bridging visa? 3. Assume instead that Vafa is a New Zealand citizen and is not the holder of a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa. Would this change your answer to question 1?
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