Brain Family Allowed To Stay In Scotland

20 September 2016, 16:01 | Updated: 20 September 2016, 16:38

An Australian family who were fighting deportation from their home in the Highlands have been granted a visa to remain in the UK.

Gregg and Kathryn Brain had set up home in Dingwall in 2011 but last month they were advised to quit the UK voluntarily after the Home Office said their leave to remain would not be continued.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that as Mrs Brain had been offered a job with a hotel group, the couple and their seven-year-old son Lachlan could stay.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have always been clear with the Brain family that if a suitable job offer was received an application to remain in the UK would be considered.

"We gave them a number of extensions on an exceptional basis to allow them to try to secure a job that would allow them to meet the immigration rules.

"Mrs Brain was subsequently offered a job with a hotel group. This has been considered and we are satisfied that it meets the conditions for a tier two visa.

"Today we have written to Mrs Brain and confirmed that she and her family have been granted leave to remain in the UK.''

The family had initially moved to the UK on Mrs Brain's student visa but a two-year post-study visa scheme then on offer was later withdrawn by the UK Government.

Mr Brain has previously warned the family would be ''homeless, jobless and significantly in debt'' if they were not allowed to remain.

As part of their fight, they met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who pledged she would do everything in her power to help

Local MP Ian Blackford, who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber, also raised the plight of the family in the House of Commons, telling MPs Lachlan has been taught to read and write in Gaelic not English.

Mr Blackford tweeted: "Victory for the Brains! I am delighted the home office have seen sense and allowed the family the right to remain. Thanks to all for support.''

The family's local MSP Kate Forbes said Mrs Brain has got a job with a Highland hotel.

The SNP member for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said: "She is well qualified with much to offer the Highland economy.

"The main challenge in securing employment over the past few months were the impossibly rigid requirements from the Home Office.

"I am thrilled for the family - Lachlan has been warmly welcomed back by his classmates following the summer break, Gregg and Kathryn are soon to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, and Kathryn graduates at the end of the month too.

"I hope they can get settled and properly put their roots down in the Highlands.

"I have never known such a cheerful and joyful family, who have remained so strong in spite of the emotional rollercoaster of the past year.''

Ms Forbes said she plans to make the issue of visa restrictions one of her "key campaigns'' for the parliamentary term.