Members of the Scottish parliament condemned today attempts by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to deport an Orkney family on a technicality.
Three Highlands and Islands MSPs have decried the "rigid and irrational" application of immigration rules that could result in the Boyd family being split up by "bureaucratic" UKBA officials.
SNP MSPs Mike MacKenzie, Jean Urquhart and John Finnie have all backed a petition calling on UKBA to let common sense prevail in the case and called for Scotland Secretary Michael Moore to step in and "knock heads together."
Gary Boyd, a deputy head teacher who was born and brought up in Leith, lives in Orkney with his Australian-born wife Kristee, stepson Kyle and daughter Nyah - all of whom are currently in Britain on six-month visas.
As Mr and Ms Boyd lived and worked abroad between 2006 and 2011, the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visas for Ms Boyd and her two children lapsed.
The MSPs cite the strong ties the family have with the local community and state that the agency's strict interpretation of its immigration rules would force Mr Boyd's family to either leave Britain every six months and return with new visas or require the family to return to Australia and apply for new ILR visas.
Mr MacKenzie, who has been assisting the family, said: "The shameful treatment by the UKBA of the Boyd family, who have contributed so much to their local community, has highlighted the problems of a shambolic agency handling discrete cases such as the Boyds.
"The UK Border Agency lurches from one mess to another and, as Scotland Secretary, Michael Moore must step in and knock heads together."
Jean Urquhart MSP, who has also been in close contact with the Boyd family, added: "The inability of the UKBA and the Immigration Minister to respond in a flexible manner risks tearing this family apart for no reason other than going by the book.
"It is not their fault that immigration rules are so needlessly complex. They should not be punished and have their family life completely destroyed in order to satisfy what appears to be unnecessary box-ticking."
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