A Scottish family desperate to stay in Australia is getting one last hope as next week’s deportation deadline looms.
Electrician Mark Green, 44, was sought after for his specialist solar installation skills in 2012 and flown to Australia with his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19.
They moved around the world with permanent residency sponsored by the shipping company, but it never materialized and the fight to stay has already cost them more than $150,000.
The Australian government has so far given no indication that it is ready to compromise on the case, but Mr Green said there could be positive news on the horizon.
“Our lawyer seems to think we can fight it,” he told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.
‘He’s left me with a decision to make, either we stay in the country and fight it out (or fly back to Scotland).’
Mark Green (left) and his wife Kelly moved 16,000km from Scotland to their new home in Adelaide, with their permanent stay sponsored by the airline.
“We can get a bridge visa to stay in the country and fight it, but it won’t be an easy fight.
“It could take up to five years or more,” he said.
Mr Green is hurt by the injustice of what is happening to him, his wife and daughter. Their son Jamie has already returned to Scotland after visa conditions meant he could not work in Australia.
“We have never done anything wrong,” he said.
The family was terminated by the companies sponsoring him as an employee and began a three-year journey to residency, but was disrupted before the process was complete.
‘Because I am on a visa, if (my boss) closes his company the visa will stop.
“The company went into liquidation and that means I have to start all over again, all three years, again,” said Mr Green, originally from Prestwick, Ayrshire.
The family (pictured) have been on a sponsored work visa since arriving, which means they need to pay for everything Australians take for granted, including paying taxes.
How does Australia’s immigration system work?
Australia has a number of different immigration systems, all of which are highly regulated.
One popular way is to be sponsored by an Australian company.
Employers must select the role that needs to be filled from the Government’s list of skilled jobs.
When a role is selected, immigration authorities evaluate the nomination and determine whether it meets their criteria.
Applicants are evaluated on several factors, including age, English language ability, training, health, character and what the market salary rates are.
In recent years Australia has also relaxed its visas for low-skilled workers – including visas focused on agriculture and fishing – amid a global need for people to fill low-skilled jobs.
Mr Green said he always worked hard and went above and beyond to prove his worth to employers.
‘Sometimes I worked for 16 days and got paid for eight.
“Because I’m on a visa, expecting employers to help me, I feel that I have to add a little bit more to show them that I’m worth keeping, that I’m worth (helping to get residency),” he says.
‘It breaks me. It really broke me.’
The Greens have fully embraced the Australian lifestyle over the past decade, to the point of becoming AFL fans.
“We support Port Adelaide. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. A lot of Adelaide Crows supporters might leave me now,’ Mr Green said with a laugh – a rare luxury in a very stressful time.
‘This is where I live. This is where my heart is. It will never change. Even if I go back to Scotland, this is where I will study like at home,’ he said.
His wife is also distraught at the prospect of leaving their beloved Adelaide.
‘I don’t want to go home. I don’t do it. I don’t know,’ she cried in her Adelaide home after selling everything.
‘It was the best day of our lives to come here. A perfect day,’ said Mrs Green, originally from Kilbirnie, 40km south-west of Glasgow.
The family-sponsored work visa status meant that they paid for everything Australians take for granted, including paying taxes.
They were denied Medicare or free public school for daughter Rebecca, which costs them $8,000 a year — but they say they paid without complaint.
Electrician Mark Green (pictured), 44, was sought after for his special solar installation skills in 2012 and flown to Australia with his wife and family.
Moving to the UK will force them to leave behind their pet dog Maisie (pictured with mum Kelly, left, and daughter Rebecca) because of the $35,000 flight ban and quarantine fees.
‘The government has a responsibility to protect me as a foreign worker who was invited to come to Australia to work and was let down by an Australian company.’
As the deadline for forced departure approaches, a sense of desperation affects the spirit of the family.
‘Stress is bad. Absolutely terrifying. It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all,’ said Mr Green.
‘No one has been contacting me about trying to resolve this. What they are telling me is that I must leave the country.
The shock of their situation has caused a lot of publicity, though.
Mark Green (pictured) and his family are desperate to stay in Australia, but face deportation
Mr Green appeared on a London radio station on Friday morning and has an interview with a British breakfast TV show on Monday.
“I don’t know if it can do well at home, but all I can do is try my best,” he said.
‘I thought I would have my company and my house by now but instead our lives are in turmoil.’
Their case has been taken up by Adelaide politician Frank Pangallo, who compared them to the Tamil Murugappan family from Bilgoela in Queensland, whose visa conditions were changed to allow them to stay despite the arrival of boats.
Their case has now been taken up by Adelaide politician Frank Pangallo (pictured), who likened them to Murugappan’s Tamil family from Bilgoela in Queensland, whose visa conditions were changed to allow them to stay despite the boat arrivals.
“They didn’t do it legally, unlike the Greens, and they got favours,” Mr Pangallo, of the Better Party of South Australia told Daily Mail Australia.
‘To force a family to leave the country they have called home for 10 years only to return to their country of origin to reapply to return to Oz seems pointless and ridiculous.
“And all of this is happening as governments grapple with changes to the country’s skilled immigration program due to severe shortages across the country.”
Mr Pangallo added: ‘If you want skilled immigrants to come to this country, you better give them a promise that they will be able to stay here and not be deported when it suits you.
A spokesman for Labor’s new immigration minister Andrew Giles said he does not comment on individual cases, but has commented in detail on Biloela’s case.
Despite the fact that they are very likely to fight, Mr Green is prepared for the worst.
‘I have nothing to send home. I will take nothing home but three suits and three humans.
The Greens will have to find a new home for Maisie (pictured) if they have to leave Australia
‘I can’t afford to ship all my stuff back home. I have had to sell everything I have worked so hard for for 10 and a half years.
‘I feel absolutely heartbroken. The government should have a policy to defend those people who come here to try to make a life for themselves,’ he said.
Along with all their assets, deportation would force the Greens to give up their beloved dog Maisie because of the $35,000 high cost of flights and quarantine fees.