Taxpayers Fund Asylum Seeker's $300,000 Luxury Trip on Private Jets
Indian refugee flown to Taiwan in luxury to have kidney stones removed
An Indian asylum seeker has been flown to Taiwan in luxury on private jets to have his kidney stones removed, with the trip costing Australian taxpayers $300,000 ($211,500 USD).
Nisar Haji, who fled India to live in Nauru, a tropical paradise in Micronesia, northeast of Australia, stayed in Taiwan for three months for the simple operation.
During his stay, he enjoyed sightseeing trips and dined at top restaurants, flying there and back on a privately chartered Gulfstream plane.
The Indian refugee posted lots of images of his enviable vacation on his Facebook account, showing him relaxing on board the luxurious aircraft on both legs of the trip.
According to the Daily Mail, he could be seen enjoying full access to the jet's mini-bar during the return flight.
At the end of Mr Haji's time in Taiwan, he enjoyed holiday-like adventures around some of the island's top sights, according to The Courier Mail.
He was pictured at a famous rock formation in Yeh Liu Geo Park near the capital Taipei and at a zoo and was seen taking in other tourist attractions.
The hospital where Mr. Haji was put up for his surgery costs between $300-$400 a day, according to its International Priority Care Centre's rates.
His situation is not a one-off, with other refugees taken overseas for medical treatment instead of to the Australian mainland.
It is understood the man is still on Nauru and does not want to go back to India.
A Home Affairs spokesperson said they would not comment on an individual case.
The revelations come less than a month after Labor's medevac bill passed through parliament, allowing asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to be medically evacuated to the Australian mainland on the advice of two doctors.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed those asylum seekers needing medical treatment but who were deemed a threat to Australia would be sent to Christmas Island rather than the mainland.
That category is believed to apply to a group that includes 57 men, of which some have allegedly been charged with murder, inappropriate behavior or terrorist activity.
How does the medivac bill work for asylum seekers?
The medivac bill means asylum seekers can be transferred from Nauru or Manus Island to Australia for medical or psychiatric treatment.
1. Two doctors must access the person to ensure they aren't receiving the appropriate treatment and need to come to Australia.
2. The Minister for Home Affairs than either approves or declines the application with 72 hours.
3. If the person is refused entry, the application is then reassessed by the Independent Health Advice Panel (IHAP).
4. If approved the individual is then sent to Australia for the appropriate treatment.
Asylum seekers living on the idyllic Nauru Island are awarded benefits courtesy of the Australian taxpayer.