Highlands & Islands

Brain family should apply for a visa, says David Cameron

David Cameron Image copyright AP
Image caption David Cameron spoke on the Brain family during his last PMQs

David Cameron has said a family facing deportation should submit an application for a visa to work in the UK.

Mr Cameron made the comment during his last Prime Minister's Questions before standing down and being succeeded as PM by Theresa May.

Australians Kathryn and Gregg Brain, who have a young son, have been fighting to remain in Scotland.

They decided to move to the UK under different rules than exist now.

The Brains were not aware of changes to visa requirement until they moved to Scotland. They have felt frustrated in their efforts to continue living in the UK and currently face deportation next month.

The SNP have been calling on the UK government to honour the terms of the scheme that brought the family to Scotland.

In answer to a question of the family's situation at PMQs from SNP MP Angus Robertson, Mr Cameron said he hoped the Brains would apply for a visa to work in the UK, adding "I hope that happens".

Image caption The Brain family came to Scotland from Australia

The outgoing prime minister said: "Mrs Brain came to this country on a Tier Four visa, on a student visa, to study for a Scottish history degree. She completed it and her husband and her son came as dependents.

"We have given them an extension until 1 August to put in an application for a work visa in the normal way and I very much hope that will happen."

Following PMQs, Mr Brain thanked Mr Robertson for raising the matter again in parliament.

He told BBC Radio Scotland that Mr Cameron had been "stating the obvious".

Mr Brain added: "We are trying to apply for a visa and once again waiting on the Home Office.

"We've got a preliminary application in and when they get back with their responses we get a visa in."

Temporary extensions

Mr and Mrs Brain moved to Dingwall in the Highlands with their son Lachlan, now seven, in 2011.

They moved from Australia on Ms Brain's student visa, but the post-study visa scheme was later withdrawn.

The Scottish government initiative, formerly supported by the Home Office, was designed to attract people to live and work in the Highlands and Islands.

The announcement of the discontinuation of the post-study work visa scheme came in March 2011, just three months before the Brain family arrived in Scotland.

However, they had been accepted for the scheme in 2010 and were unaware of the changes until 2012.

The couple have since had temporary extensions to their stay in the UK.

In May, they were told they could stay until 1 August, but that they would not be allowed to work.

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