The Biloela family are set to be granted three-month bridging visas, after a surprising decision from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

Hawke had originally disallowed the family from obtaining new bridging visas, as their application landed in a government inbox over 30 minutes late, as reported by SBS. However, the Murugappan family’s lawyers argued that this was due to the vague deadline of “close of business day”, which was apparently meant to mean 5pm.

Alex Hawke’s barrister, Stephen Lloyd, said that it was a “risk” to make the submission “later than close of business in Canberra.”

“If I had known that 5pm was close of business, then potentially yes [she would have been taking a risk],” the Murugappan family’s lawyer Catrina Ford said.

“But my evidence remains there was no clear definition of close of business.”

According to SBS, Catrina Ford’s email was sent at 5:45pm which would have been 3:45pm in WA, where the Biloela family are currently based.

Now, the Immigration Minister will reconsider his original decision at a hearing on September 23. If approved, that temporary visa will buy the family more time in Australia while their immigration status is resolved.

Angela Fredericks, of the Home to Bilo group, said that Priya and Nades Murugappan are “terrified of what might happen to them if they are ever forced from Australia to Sri Lanka.”

“The majority of Australians want the Morrison Government to let this family return to Biloela. We know this family is safe in Biloela. No one can guarantee their safety if they are forced to Sri Lanka,” she said.

The Murugappans were living and working in the Queensland regional town of Biloela, before theirdging visas expired and they were sent to a detention centre on Christmas Island in 2018.

The family were then brought back to Australia after their youngest daughter, Tharnicaa, required emergency medical care and was transported to a Perth hospital. The Biloela family were then granted bridging visas while Tharnicaa received medical care.

The new bridging visas set to be approved by the Immigration Minister will give the family another three months in Australia.