The Home Office has told an Australian family living in the Scottish Highlands to go home after their deadline for a successful visa application expired.
The Brain family has been sent a letter from the Government telling them to “voluntarily” return to Australia after the visa they came to the UK on was scrapped under new rules three months after their arrival.
Kathryn Brain and her husband, Gregg, only found out a year after they moved to Scotland that the post-study student visa Ms Brain was awarded in 2010 had been retroactively discontinued – leading them to accuse the Government of failing to uphold “their end of the bargain.
And now the final of three extended deadlines for the parents to find a permanent job, which would allow them and their 11-year-old son Lachlan to stay, passed at midnight on Monday after several job offers fell through.
All three are now expected to leave the country voluntarily and can apply to the Home Office to pay for their return flight home.
A spokesperson for the Home Office has said: We have not received any fresh application from or on behalf of the Brain family which would allow them to stay in the UK.
We have given the family three extensions on an exceptional basis over a number of months to allow them to try to secure a job that would allow them to meet the immigration rules, but this cannot be open-ended.
In line with established policy designed to apply evenly and fairly to everyone, anyone who is unable to regularise their stay is expected to leave the UK voluntarily.
A day before they were due to be deported on May 31 this year, former immigration minister James Brokenshire gave the family leave to remain in the country until August 1, with his successor Mr Goodwill saying he would be willing to look at extending this if a concrete job offer was made.
But despite support from Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, and rumours that one of Scotland’s biggest employers wanted to make Ms and Mr Brain a job offer, a potential post at a local distillery collapsed as it did not meet the necessary visa specifications.
Speaking before the midnight deadline, Mr Brain had said: “At this stage we are still very much hoping that an employer will come forward and we’ll be able to continue moving towards a tier two visa application.
Of course, what I’d really like is for the Home Office to give us what they promised when we moved here in the first place – a two-year visa with the right to work.
The Independent has approached the Home Office for confirmation of any consequences if the family choose to appeal the decision.