An Australian family who were due to be deported from Scotland on Tuesday have been given a last minute reprieve.

The Brain family, who moved to Dingwall in the Highlands in 2011 on a visa scheme which has now been cancelled, will be allowed to stay until August but will not be permitted to carry on working.

While the decision allowing them to stay has been welcomed, SNP MP Ian Blackford has called on the Home Office to urgently rethink the decision not to allow them to work, claiming the family, Kathryn and Gregg Brain and their seven-year-old son Lachlan, will struggle to survive until August without pay.

Mr Blackford said: "I find it utterly incredulous 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?

"Both Kathryn and Gregg have secured jobs in the local area, which would benefit the local economy and allow them to continue the enormous contribution that they have already made to life in the Highlands.

"What's more is that Kathryn's job for GlenWyvis Distillery is a role aimed at increasing funding for the start-up company which will in turn drive up investment and create more jobs in the Highlands.

"The Tories must urgently rethink this unfair and pigheaded decision - it cannot be right that a young family should have to live with such uncertainty and worry to continue to stay in their home."

The Brain family originally moved to Scotland under a scheme designed to boost the diminishing Highland population, however the scheme was withdrawn a year later.

They were recently told that they were at risk of deportation, prompting a campaign, led by Mr Blackford and Kate Forbes MSP, urging the Home Office to allow them to stay.

Read more: Brain family deportation case shows Scotland is losing out after Home Office cancels graduate work visas

Mr Blackford said he received an email at 5.45pm on Monday granting them leave to remain until August 1 but refusing them the right to continue working.

The family's plight has attracted a lot of attention in recent weeks, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon writing twice to Home Secretary Theresa May, but receiving no response, and SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson raising the issue with George Osborne when he stood in at PMQs.


Mr and Mrs Brain and Lachlan, originally from Brisbane in Queensland, also met with Ms Sturgeon at the Scottish Parliament last week and received her backing for their campaign to stay.

The First Minister said: "'The government changed the rules before these people had a chance to benefit. The wee boy is a Gaelic speaker and is, to all intents and purposes, Scottish."

SNP lawmaker Kate Forbes added: "The government apparently is trying to regulate immigration but what they are actually doing is alienating and deporting the very people with the talent and the skills that we need in Scotland.

"These inflexible rules are a blunt instrument."

A Home Office spokesman confirmed that the family have been granted leave to stay for another two months, however he refused to confirm whether or not they are able to work.
The spokesman added that the extension will give the family time to offer evidence of a job which falls within immigration rules, which they have not yet done.