EXCLUSIVE: Brain family in fresh fight to remain in Scotland

Chris McQuade

Brain family say they have lost £35,000 during case, but need to find another £12,000 this month to remain in the UK 

AN AUSTRALIAN family that have fought a long-running battle with the Home Office could still face deportation.

The Brain family needs to raise £12,000 to cover the cost of a Tier 2 Visa extension by the end of this month or they will be removed from the country. 

Gregg and Kathryn Brain have set up a Just Giving page in a bid to raise the funds needed to pay for the visa itself, and the legal cost entailed in the process. 

“To be honest, nothing this side of a Columbian drug deal will raise that kind of money.” Gregg Brain

CommonSpace spoke to Gregg Brain, who said: “We found ourselves in the situation that I’m sure the Home Office will see zero irony in this but, having revoked our right to work for 10 months last year from the jobs we were in, that cost us about £26,000. 

“We’re now in a situation of having got that 12-month visa and tried to extend it, the Home Office will quite cheerfully say – having effectively robbed us of £26,000 – that if we can’t come up with around £7,000 in visa fees and almost the same again in legals then it’s ‘get out’.”

Brain added he has been called a “scrounger” for asking for help but he said: “To be honest, nothing this side of a Columbian drug deal will raise that kind of money.” 

The Brains’ case hit the headlines last year when their long-running case was highlighted across the UK. 

In December 2010, Kathryn was granted a student visa that allowed her, Bryan and their son to enter the UK, with the intention of moving onto a post-study work visa (Tier 1) – which was scrapped in March 2011. 

The family arrived in June 2011 and claim they only found the Tier 1 was scrapped in April 2012. 

After a fraught few yeras, they were finally allowed to remain in the UK last September when Kathryn Brain met Home Office conditions for a Tier 2 visa.

Gregg Brain told CommonSpace the family have lost £35,000 during the saga. 

She gained employment as a museum curator at McDonald Hotels in Aviemore.

But with that extension set to run out, the family needs to find the funds to pay for their visa imminently. 

Gregg Brain told CommonSpace the family have lost £35,000 during the saga. 

He said: “We’re in the position of potentially going back to Australia penniless, homeless with just the clothes on our backs because we would not afford to take anything with us.

“Or, we could pay those funds and at that point get a four-year visa that would allow us to get our feet back under us.” 

If the Brains can obtain that second visa they would then be allowed to apply for a permanent and indefinite right to remain application when that runs out in four years. 

So far, the family have raised just under £4,000 of their £12,000 target. 

SNP MSP Kate Forbes said the UK Government’s decision to scrap the post-study work visa was a “huge mistake” and claimed Scotland should take control to fix this. 

Forbes said: “I am absolutely fed up of the Brain family having to battle against the impossibly rigid requirements from the Home Office.

“The UK Government needs to understand that families like the Brains are vital to the future of the Highland economy and that we need a bit more common sense in the visa application process. 

“Here in the Highlands we do not want to see families being forced to leave because of the Home Office’s ridiculous visa processes and restrictions.”

CommonSpace contacted the Home Office for comment, but received no reply whne this article was published. 

CommonSpace reported last month how the family had been targeted by a spoof Just Giving page that was removed when we alerted the company.

Picture courtesy of Just Giving

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