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Australian father urges Michael Gove to let family stay in UK

July 8, 2016   /  Uncategorized   /   no comments

An Australian father fighting deportation has called on justice secretary Michael Gove to allow his family to stay in the UK.

The call came as the prime ministerial hopeful sympathised with their case before the EU referendum.

Gregg Brain, who moved from Australia to Dingwall in the Highlands with wife Kathryn and son Lachlan, now seven, in 2011, gave evidence to the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee about their experience with the UK immigration system.

Mr Brain said afterwards: “Gove was saying that we would benefit from a post-Brexit immigration policy, in as much as immigration policy would in some degree be devolved to Scotland and some regional aspect would be applied.

“But any restrictions that are being placed on our stay at the moment aren’t coming from Brussels or Holyrood – they’re coming from Westminster

“Mr Gove, as justice minister and lord chancellor, is actually one of three people who could decree at the stroke of pen to allow us to stay if he chooses.

“Since we are now in that Brexit scenario, I would certainly like to ask Mr Gove to back his sentiments with actions.”

Mr Brain and his son came to Scotland as dependants of Mrs Brain, who was on a student visa at a time when a two-year post-study visa was in existence but it was later abolished.

They hoped a job offer made to Mrs Brain by GlenWyvis distillery in Dingwall would meet visa requirements and allow them to stay.

They have since been told they can remain in the UK until August but are not allowed to work. Ahead of the EU referendum, Mr Gove cited the “unfortunate situation” of the Brain family as an example of “the way in which the law operates as a result of our membership of the EU”.

He said: “They came here, they settled down, brought skills and talent to this country. If we leave the EU then we can change the approach that we take to migration. Holyrood would be strengthened if we left the EU.

“The Scottish Parliament would have new powers over fishing, agriculture, over some social areas and potentially over immigration.”

Mr Brain said he was “grateful for the opportunity to put a human perspective and introduce a bit of compassion into the equation” at the committee, but he added: “We’re still stuck at the starting gate. We have had a very explicit indication that that deadline will not be extended.

“What recommendations they make to the Parliament and what the government of the day tells the immigration department by way of implementing whatever policy they recommend – only time will tell.

“Whatever they decide to do, it will probably take considerably longer than we’ve got between now and August 1.”

Scottish External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “We have been very consistent, even under devolution, to have some kind of different system for people who want to come and study and stay here.”

She added: “People automatically jump to the constitutional options or solutions. Let’s look at the issues, and how we keep the talented people that want to stay here.”

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