Peter Threlfall’s family were refused under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, after he was offered a job as a constable at Ceduna, on the west coast of South Australia. He was due to relocate from the UK and start his job as soon as his visa was approved.

The refusal to let the Threlfalls into the country was based on the presumption his step-daughter Sarah’s condition would place a burden on healthcare and community services in Australia.

Threlfall says he is outraged at the decision, especially since his step-daughter Sarah, 25, has a proven ability to work. She has two jobs and she also volunteers with the Scout and Guide movement. She had planned to study hairdressing when they arrived in Australia.

Although Threlfall and his family have been trying to challenge the decision, they have resigned themselves to remaining in the UK – despite forking out $8000 on the recruitment process.

“Sarah is not a drain on UK resources and would not have been on Australia,” he said.

A spokesman for the Immigration Department said there were no legal grounds for a health waiver and had the family been in Australia they may have had grounds to appeal, the spokesman said.

Disability advocates have branded the decision discriminatory.