Tories face charges of hypocrisy and heartlessness after family forced to quit Scotland

Canadian family left at mercy of Tory immigration system as Scotland’s needs go wanting

THE UK TORY GOVERNMENT has been accused of hypocrisy and heartlessness over its immigration rules, which have forced a Canadian family living and working in Scotland to leave due to a failure to meet the high level of immigration standards set by the UK Home Office.

Jason and Christie Zielsdorf and their five children came to the UK under the ‘Tier 1 entrepreneur route’ of immigration entry and sought an extension, but were refused as according to the Home Office they did not meet the immigration rules on several counts.

Theresa May’s Conservative government has made much of its distinction between “high-skilled immigration” and “getting the numbers down” but has been accussed by opponents of hiding behind Home Office statements about the family.

The Zielsdorf family who ran the Laggan stores coffee bothy and Wayfarer's Rest in Laggan in the Cairngorms, closed shop on 14 April and this week and put their business up for sale.

“More than ever, as the Tories squabble childishly with Europe and ramp up their hard-right agenda, we need a strong SNP voice to stand up for Scotland’s interests.” Drew Hendry M

SNP MP Drew Hendry said: “The Tories should be completely ashamed to force an entrepreneurial family out of their Highland community, depriving the area of a thriving business.
 
“It is utter hypocrisy for the Tories to claim Scotland is an unattractive place to live and work, when it is the Tory government who are driving successful business people out of Scotland - and doing their level best to prevent people coming to live here. When the Home Office isn’t deporting Canadian business owners who want to invest in rural Scotland, Theresa May is telling foreign born doctors they’re no longer welcome in the NHS.
 
“The sad case of the Zielsdorf family underlines the need for Scotland to have an immigration system that works for our communities – not a heartless UKIP-driven agenda of the Tories. More than ever, as the Tories squabble childishly with Europe and ramp up their hard-right agenda, we need a strong SNP voice to stand up for Scotland’s interests.”

Yesterday (2 My) Murdo Fraser, Tory MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, used this week’s First Minister’s Questions to ask First Minister Nicola Sturgeon why “after ten years of SNP rule is Scotland not an attractive place for immigrants to come to?”

“The sad case of the Zielsdorf family underlines the need for Scotland to have an immigration system that works for our communities.” Drew Hendry MP

This was despite his party on both sides of the border failing to reverse the policy of rejecting unaccompanied Syrian refugee children at Calais, the failure to secure rights for EU nationals in Scotland and the UK party’s drift to the right in anti-immigration rhetoric to avoid losing votes to Ukip.

The Scottish Tories did not respond when questioned about the Zielsdorf family’s situation.

A Home Office spokesman said “all visa applications made are carefully considered on their individual merits" in line with the UK immigration rules.

Last year the Brain family from Australia narrowly escaped deportation, despite their son being raised in Scotland, after they obtained promises of employment. A third case saw Gloria Macleod, an Indian woman married to a Scot working in Dubai, forced to leave their home in Dingwall along with their two children.

With the EU referendum last summer resulting in the UK voting to leave the European bloc, several MSPs have called for the devolution of immigration to the competency of Holyrood. The Scottish Parliament's culture, tourism, Europe and external relations committee has previously called for Scotland to be allowed its own separate immigration deal after Brexit.

Picture courtesy of CommonsZ/G Russell

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