SNP MP highlights UK government’s draconian measures taken against the innocent Australian family in determination to impose deportation

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.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • I keep thinking there is something odd about this case and they are being used by others for political reasons.

    It certainly shows the folly of Gaelic only education. Some friends’ son went to university in Wales, he shared a house with some other students from various countries. One was Welsh and had gone through the whole education system in Welsh only teaching, he could have continued to study in Welsh and live an all Welsh hall of residence but realised that his English was very poor which would severely restrict his future job prospects so wanted to live amongst non-Welsh speaking students to improve his English.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

    Lundavra May 31, 2016 8:26 am Reply
    • Gaelic is a real minority language, but down here in Welsh Wales the ability to speak the (minority) language is nothing less than an advantage when it comes to applying for jobs, especially in the public sector. I don’t know where your friends children’s University friends were from, but in reality no-one, especially in the younger generation even if educated in the medium of Welsh, cannot speak English to a fluent level sufficient to get on in the English speaking world

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Iain McCallum June 1, 2016 12:32 am Reply
      • The student concerned knew his own ability to speak and understand English would be a disadvantage when looking to work outside Wales. When I went to university in Wales (many years ago!) some of the hard line nationalists lived in their own little bubble by choice but this has been made worse by an education system where parts work solely in Welsh. Nowadays I would probably have no contact with them whilst then I lived next door to Dafydd Ellis Thomas (quite unlike that extremists!).
        I am half Welsh so quite familiar with the situation.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Lundavra June 1, 2016 8:36 am Reply
  • It’s a political football that’s – predictably enough – been picked up by the SNP, who are running with it for all they’re worth, Blackford, Sturgeon and all.
    But the Westminster government have presented the issue, ‘gift wrapped’ to the SNP (presumably to avoid setting a precedent / presenting the issue ‘gift wrapped’ to the anti-immigration mob in the run-up to the Europe vote).
    Westminster’s retrospective cancellation of this visa facility was presumably a knee-jerk reaction to the publicity around the widespread abuse of the student visa system – and, talking of knee-jerks, Boris is presumably still working out how he can gain traction from this one. The SNP are miles in front.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    Robert Wakeham May 31, 2016 9:41 am Reply
    • I just tend to be immediately suspicious of anything the Edinburgh Banker is involved in.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

      Lundavra May 31, 2016 1:19 pm Reply
      • Gaelic speakers at school in the fifties had it belted out of them. Tory B@st@rds.
        So you prefer to be screwed over by Etonians. You talk cobblers.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

        Nae Fear Here May 31, 2016 2:28 pm Reply
  • I think there is something suspicious when 2 ukippy’s support the ruk government withdrawing the right for someone to work.
    Forced Destitution to remove the migrants. Tories are odious.

    Just shows that Scotland needs to control its own affaires than be dictated to by some numpty in London, Engerlund


    Lundarva and co, anti Scot, anti snp anti anything that might smack of the Scots doing the right thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

    No Cheese Here May 31, 2016 1:49 pm Reply
  • This case is being used to score political points – nothing else.

    Having visited Australia, USA, Indonesia and Phillippines for usiness purposes, I have a fairly good idea just how strict these countries immigration policies are.

    How ironic that it’s Ozzies of all people who are not happy with the UK immigration policy – they are obviously blind to their own countries horrendous record on that….

    THe UK Government should stick their ground – otherwise every unfortunate case will end up in the House of Commons and the policy, harsh as it can be, is rendered meaningless.

    This is a quite obvious case of heart over head. I bear no ill will towards the family, but this is the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    JB June 1, 2016 7:06 am Reply
    • “How ironic that it’s Ozzies of all people who are not happy with the UK immigration policy – they are obviously blind to their own countries horrendous record on that….”

      Nothing new about that I can remember when the Australian politicians on the world stage would be amongst the biggest protesters against Apartheid whilst they had just about a complete ban on immigration of anyone who was black as well as of course their own dreadful treatment of their indigenous populaton.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Lundavra June 1, 2016 8:39 am Reply
  • One of my family, a very able young woman with a good degree in mathematics, went to Australia on a working visa, which was extended to two years.
    She liked the country very much, and her employers, who valued her very highly, tried every avenue to persuade the government to allow her to stay, with a view to becoming resident.
    All pleas were rejected, on the grounds that she was doing a job an Australian could do, therefore was bringing nothing to the party.
    The situation the Brain family finds itself in appears very similar. I wish them no ill will, but what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.
    The position taken by the SNP in this affair is nothing more than opportunistic and transparent grandstanding.
    (The fact that my daughter spoke Gaelic didn’t cut it in Australia either)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Proudest Scot in the UK June 1, 2016 9:40 am Reply
  • There’s nothing wrong with being critical of the Australian Government’s immigration policy both current and historical, but I hardly think it appropriate to use any shortcomings in the Australian system as a basis or justification for us deporting people who live here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    jake June 1, 2016 12:15 pm Reply

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