Australian family granted temporary reprieve in UK visa battle

31 May 2016 | By Carl Thomas
An Australian family caught up in a UK visa row have been granted leave to remain in the country for a further 60 days but the two parents have been told they cannot take paid work.
Gregg and Kathryn Brain and son, Lachlan, seven, were due to be deported from their home in Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands, where they have lived since 2011.
The family came to Scotland under the post-study work visa scheme which was subsequently retrospectively cancelled. They have now been told they have to apply for Tier 2 visas, which require a pre-agreement from employers to sponsor them.
Their case was taken to both the governments in Westminister and Holyrood and their MP Ian Blackford has campaigned on their behalf. Mr Blackford has received a letter from Immigration Minister James Brokenshire, extending their leave to remain until August 1 but denying both parents the right to work, even though they have been offered jobs.
Mr Blackford told The Guardian: “I find it utterly incredible that Home Office minister James Brokenshire has decided to extend the Brain family’s right to stay in their home in Scotland but refused to grant them the right to work.
“How does he expect Kathryn, Gregg and Lachlan to make ends meet until the beginning of August while the UK government refuses to allow them to work?”
Mr Brain said he feared that they were “being set up to fail” by the Home Office because their passports are confiscated, their bank accounts may be frozen and the authorities have recommended that their driving licences are cancelled.

Under the current UK visa rules, the Brains must have £900 in maintenance funds for each family member for 90 days in a bank account. But because they had to give up their employment when they first faced deportation and are not allowed to work, Mr and Mrs Brain cannot satisfy this criteria.