Iranian bridesmaid denied entry to Australia: Figtree family devastated

Bride-to-be Shirin Mirzaee (right) is devastated her only bridesmaid has not been allowed to come to Australia. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Bride-to-be Shirin Mirzaee (right) is devastated her only bridesmaid has not been allowed to come to Australia. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Figtree's Shirin Mirzaee was joyously preparing for her upcoming wedding, until her only bridesmaid was rejected entry into Australia.

The 23-year-old had invited her Iranian cousin Parisa Bayani to be on the bridal party because of their sisterly bond.

"It's actually a big sacrifice for her to come," she said. "She's living a very luxurious life in Iran.

"The groom's side have family but we don't have any here."

Instead of applying for a tourist visa, the family decided to sponsor their 39-year-old relative because they were told the application would be more likely to be successful.

So when they found out the application had been rejected, they were devastated.

The bride's mother, Sholeh Mirzaee, said the Department of Immigration's reasons were "nonsense".

"I'm willing to put a $100,000 security bond for the government as an insurance that she will go back," she said.

"She's married with two children and would never leave them. I am willing to pay for everything and I even got health insurance for her."

In a refusal letter, an Immigration official acknowledged Mrs Bayani's husband and children "may offer some inducement to return to Iran" but said it was not enough proof she intended to stay temporarily in Australia.

Other reasons include the absence of previous international travel, the desire to stay three months for the wedding and statistics showing "the non-return rate for applicants from similar circumstances is high".

Finally, Mrs Bayani was told she had not provided sufficient evidence of employment, business, personal or cultural ties in Iran to reduce concerns she would stay beyond the validity of her visa.

The Figtree family is furious.

Father Aminollah Mirzaee-Amirabad said the application form only had three choices, three, six or 12 months, and they ticked the shortest option - it was not an indication she planned to stay that long.

"They don't understand the difference between 'up to' and 'for' three months," he said.

"It just doesn't make sense and we don't know who to go to."

The family has the option to appeal, but they were told the process would cost more than $1000 and could take 12 months.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison said applicants must prove they were genuine visitors and intended to return home before their visa expired.

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