Tom Conti steps up to support Oz expat family facing deportation

Published:  5 Aug at 6 PM
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An update on the recent report of an Australian couple who moved to the UK under the post study visa scheme has revealed they are finally being forced to leave the UK.

Kathryn and Gregg Brain and their son Lachlan originally moved to Scotland in 2011, encouraged by an immigration study/work scheme intended to repopulate Scotland’s highlands areas. Soon after they arrived, the two-year post-study scheme was quashed by the UK government. In spite of strenuous attempts by both expat to find a job with a salary which would justify a Tier 2 work visa, they have now been told they must leave the country.

Up until this week, the couple had been hoping for a reprieve or another extension, but UK Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill has ruled there are no exceptional circumstances which would justify a leave to remain order. Speaking on BBC News, Mr Brain said they’re still meeting with their lawyer to discuss options which would prevent their having to leave the UK, but the Home Office seem determined to have them removed.

Mrs Brain had found work with an estate agency, with her husband also working in a legal office, but after the scheme was abolished they were disallowed from working. Worse still, their passports were seized and threats to freeze their bank accounts were made.

They are now suffering from a lack of funds due to legal costs sustained during their attempts to stay, meaning they would fail the Tier 2 visa requirements even if both could find jobs in the area. According to Mr Brain, if their attempts to remain in the UK fail, the family will be ‘homeless, jobless and in significant debt’. The couple have received several genuine job offers, but none paid enough to qualify for a Tier 2 visa.

On Monday, after hearing about the family’s difficulties, actor Tom Conti offered to provide enough funds to keep a minimum balance in their bank accounts, thus meeting the visa requirements. During a Radio 4 interview, the actor compared the Home Office’s behaviour to that of the Soviet Union, adding that moving the goalposts after the family had arrived with a legal visa is not acceptable.
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