In June 2012, Hilenia Zavaglai met her husband, David, in Adelaide, Australia. Hilenia is from Italy but was on a trip visiting her brother in Adelaide when she met David.
The pair began a relationship and David accompanied Hilenia to Rome, where she lived. They then returned to Adelaide to plan their wedding, 9news reports.
Not knowing it would be a problem with immigration, and because of her Christian faith, Hilenia chose not to live with David until after they were married in December 2013.
The couple now has a 2-month-old daughter together and Hilenai fears she will be deported.
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“I’m Christian so for my religion I can’t live together with my husband until I’m married,” she told 9news.
David is scared he will lose his wife and daughter.
“I’m 36 years old," he said. "I’ve waited a long time to find the right girl to have a child with and to lose them…”
When they initially contacted immigration, the couple was only asked if they had been together for more than a year. However, they are now being told that Hilenia could be deported because they have not lived together for a year.
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South Australian Sen. Nick Xenophon has weighed in on the situation.
“They’re being punished because they were just being a bit old fashioned, that seems completely wrong,” he said, 9news reports.
Xenophon says he will soon be meeting with a minister in Canberra to help the couple get a result.
The Australian citizenship process is complicated and certain Visa applications do require couples to live together for a certain period of time. It is not clear from 9news which citizenship application process the couple applied for.
Photo: Wikipedia, 9 News