Highland deportation family win last-minute reprieve

A FAMILY living in the Highlands who face deportation to Australia have won a reprieve after the UK government said there was no 'imminent risk' of expulsion.

Gregg, Kathryn and Lachlan Brain have won a reprieve over their deportation. They won support from Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and their local communities. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Gregg and Kathryn Brain and their son Lachlan, seven, had feared being deported within days, but will be given time to re-apply for a visa after a last-minute job offer.

The family moved to Dingwall in 2011 under Mrs Brain’s student visa and had intended to remain using a post-study work programme before that scheme was scrapped.

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An offer of a job for Mr Brain also collapsed, leaving the family at risk of deportation.

James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, responded to an urgent question yesterday from Ian Blackford, the family’s MP, saying he had given the family until Tuesday to re-submit an application for a tier 2 skilled worker visa after Mrs Brain was offered a job at a new distillery.

He assured Mr Blackford “that the family does not face an imminent risk of immediate deportation”. The SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber urged Mr Brokenshire to “show some compassion”.

The Brains met Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, the First Minister tweeting that she would “do all she can” to stop them being deported.

Mr Brain said he is grateful that seven-year-old Lachlan, whose first language is Gaelic, does not fully comprehend the potential upheaval the family faced.

He said they have been “absolutely amazed” by the support of the local community and politicians from all parties, adding that he hopes it will help other families in similar situations.

He said: “We’ve been absolutely floored, we had no idea that it would generate this level of interest. What we’re hopeful for is that a rising tide will lift all ships.

“The generosity and the openness of the people in our villages around us, the wider community, has been just absolutely overwhelming. I keep using the word overwhelming but I can’t think of anything else.”

Kathryn has been offered a job at GlenWyvis Distillery in the Highlands where her role will be to attract funding for the start-up company, which will in turn lead to further investment and jobs for the area. The Scotsman’s EU Referendum page: Keep up to date with latest news, polls and features.