Highlands & Islands

Laggan's Zielsdorf family 'no choice' but to leave for Canada

Laggan Stores Image copyright Richard Webb/Geograph
Image caption The Zielsdorf family shop in the Cairngorms

A family facing deportation after living in Scotland since 2008 are to return to Canada.

Jason and Christy Zielsdorf, who have five children and ran a shop in the small Highlands community of Laggan, are to leave voluntarily on Thursday.

The Home Office said the family's bid to continue living in Scotland failed to meet immigration rules.

The Zielsdorfs have been fighting to stay, saying they have sought to meet all requirements of their visa.

Laggan Stores Coffee Bothy and Wayfarer's Rest, the shop the family ran in Laggan in the Cairngorms, closed on 14 April and has been put up for sale by the family.

Mr Zielsdorf told BBC Radio Scotland that he and his family felt that they had no choice but to leave.

He said: "We can always opt out of our voluntary departure, but it would just be inevitable unless the Home Office does something significantly in our favour."

The Home Office has said Mr Zielsdorf's application for an extension of leave to remain under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route was refused as it did not meet the immigration rules on several counts.

These included providing evidence of self-employment, evidence of National Insurance contributions and the requirement to employ two people full-time for 12 months.

A Home Office spokesman added that all visa applications were "carefully considered on their individual merits" in line with the UK immigration rules.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Home Office allowed the Brains from Australia to stay on in Scotland after earlier moves to deport them

The Zielsdorfs' deportation comes about six months after an Australian family that had been facing deportation was granted permission by the Home Office to continue living in the UK.

Gregg and Kathryn Brain and their son Lachlan, who live in Dingwall in the Highlands, had been trying to qualify for a new visa.

The family initially moved to the UK in 2011 on Mrs Brain's student visa.

They had intended to move to a post-study visa but this scheme was withdrawn by the UK government.

However, Mrs Brain managed to secure a job that met visa regulations and the Home Office allowed her to remain in the UK.

Also in the last six months, a mother of two who was at risk of being deported because of an issue with her visa was granted leave to stay in the UK.

Gloria Macleod, who has an Indian passport and is married to a Scot currently working in Dubai, was also living in Dingwall.

The couple's young daughters were attending a local school and the family was planning to set up home in the area.

The Home Office had previously said she that she did not have the correct visa.

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