SNP MP for Skye, Lochaber and Weste Ross, Ian Blackford, has issued an eleventh hour plea to the Home Office in a bid to stop the Brain family being deported from their home in Scotland – especially given that both Gregg and Kathryn have now been offered jobs.
Gregg and Kathryn Brain decided to relocate from Australia to Dingwall in the Highlands under a Scottish Government initiative, backed by the Home Office, designed to attract people to live and work in the region. Their son Lachlan, 7, attends the Gaelic-medium Unit at Dingwall Primary School.
The post-study work visa scheme that first attracted them to Scotland was retrospectively cancelled by the UK government – after they had made arrangements to move – and the Home Office decided that the family were to leave Scotland tomorrow, 31st May 2016.
While the deportation date has now been extended to August, the family have been told that they will then be deported.
Kathryn Brain has been offered a job at GlenWyvis Distillery and Gregg Brain has been offered a role as a health and safety officer at Elgin-based Springfield Properties, run by a controversially close business associate of the SNP and of First Minster.
However, neither of the Brain parents are able to take up the offered jobs because their right to work in the UK has been removed by the Home Office. Their passports have also been confiscated and the Home Office has threatened to freeze their bank accounts and rescind their driving licenses.
Ian Blackford says: ‘The Brains are a great family – exactly the kind of people who we want to attract to live and work in the Highlands – yet they face deportation and are being treated like they are not welcome here.
‘Both Gregg and Kathryn have been offered jobs that make use of their skillsets and would satisfy the Home Office’s requirements – so what we desperately need now is for the UK government to show some compassion by allowing them to take up their jobs so that they can apply for a tier two visa.
‘The Brain family have suffered a breach of trust at the hands of the UK government and I implore the Home Office to move quickly and give back to this young family the right to work and live in their home in the Highlands.’
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, and who has fought the case for the Brains with dedication, says: ‘The case of the Brain family has shown how ridiculous the UK Government’s approach to migration is. Despite a political consensus in Scotland in favour of the Post-Study Work Visa, and the personal intervention of the First Minister in this case, the Tories seem determined to deport a young family who only want to get on with their lives.
‘With both Gregg and Kathryn now offered jobs, the Home Office must see sense and allow them to continue to live and work in Scotland – and the Tories have wider questions to answer as to why the Scottish Government have their hands tied in attracting skilled workers.’
The UK government’s behaviour in this case shows as alarming a deficiency in political judgment and a care for natueal justics as it does in compassion.
When illegal migrants are now routinely crossing the English Channel in small boats and slipping ashore in small ports and marinas, government grandstanding on deporting a family legitimately lured to the UK by the post-study visa facility which was later withdrawn, is spiritually impoverished in its small mindedness – and just wrong.