A Scottish family fighting deportation from Australia may end up in New Zealand after their race to complete hundreds of pages of immigration forms hit a wall.
Mark Green, 44, wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19, were given a last-minute reprieve by Labor’s immigration minister Andrew Giles two weeks ago.
Mr Giles stepped in after a plea from South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas just as the Adelaide family should have been checking in for their flight back to the UK.
A series of broken promises by employers left the family stranded without a visa 10 years after emigrating from Ayrshire in central Scotland for a new life Down Under.
The 11th-hour intervention has given them an extra month to re-apply and on Monday they were told they must file three 80 page-forms within 24 hours.
They need to list all their international travel over the past three decades – but the family’s old UK passports were destroyed when they recently renewed them.
Mark Green, 44, wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19, (centre) may end up in New Zealand after a race to complete hundreds of pages of paperwork was hit by a crippling new blow
The family face a 16,000km flight back to Scotland with no job and no home awaiting them or a move to New Zealand if they can’t sort out the Australian visa red tape in time
Now they are scrambling to retrace their steps from memory and family pictures – and are terrified of making a mistake which could cost them their visa.
It’s another punishing blow for the family who have been let down seven times by companies sponsoring Mr Green, a solar installation specialist.
The family has already spent $150,000 on visa applications and immigration lawyers but his employers have repeatedly gone bust before the mandatory three years of sponsorship for residency could be completed.
Another former boss even told Mr Green that he’d applied for the family’s citizenship and paid their fees – but faked the paperwork in a heartbreaking blow.
Now they are bracing to fly to start afresh in New Zealand if the visa red tape can’t be sorted out in time.
‘I’m still very stressed,’ admitted the father-of-two, whose eldest son Jamie flew back to Scotland years ago after visa conditions stopped him from working in Australia.
‘I came here to better my life and it’s just been an absolute nightmare. It’s just too much to handle in my head.
The pressure of the last month has taken its toll, with Mark Green (pictured) suffering endless sleepless nights and losing 15kg in a matter of weeks
A series of broken promises by employers left Mark and Kelly Green stranded without a visa 10 years after emigrating from Ayrshire in central Scotland for a new life Down Under
‘The immigration department got in touch looking for more information so I’m just filling out endless forms now.
‘No word of a lie here, I’ve got three forms to fill out which are 80 pages each, looking for information from up to 30 years ago.
‘Who the hell has got that?’
He told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Our problem is that we renewed our passports at the beginning of the year.
‘They give you an option: “Do you want your old passports back or you want us to get rid of it?”
‘I thought it was pointless keeping our old passports so I said just to get rid of it.’
They are now painstakingly piecing together all their international movements but are aware the clock is not on their side.
‘We were told to get these forms back to immigration by Tuesday afternoon, and the immigration minister wants the full case on his desk by August 29,’ said Mr Green.
‘I was up until 1am trying to work through them all. It’s another step forward but I’m dealing with the government so I’m not confident at all…
‘I’m worried they’re just trying to trip me up.’
Mark Green (left) and his wife Kelly moved 16,000km from Scotland to their new home in Adelaide, with their permanent residency supposed to be sponsored by his company
The Green family now have a back-up plan in place to fly to New Zealand if the government does kick them out of Australia.
The clan sold everything they had in Scotland when they left 10 years ago and have nothing awaiting them back in the UK.
They faced being homeless and jobless after Mr Green’s UK electrical certification expired while he was in Australia.
But after their plight was revealed by Daily Mail Australia, a New Zealand recruitment specialist saw their story from the UK and got in touch.
The Green family sold everything they had in Scotland when they left 10 years ago and have nothing awaiting them back in the UK
‘Hopefully it will get better, but if not, I’m now set up for New Zealand,’ he revealed. ‘I hope it doesn’t but if it comes to it, I’m organised now for NZ.
‘The recruiting agent said he would help me free of charge and get me a job which is great. It saves me from going back to Scotland because I have no prospects there.
‘In a worst case scenario, I can get permanent residency there within two-and-a-half years, and I can apply up to the age of 55, which is 10 years more than Australia.
‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it is not to just rely on what’s happening. Always have a back-up plan. And if you can, have a back-up plan for that back-up.
‘I was totally naive – I didn’t think anybody was like this. I thought it would all be smooth sailing – but I was just naive to it all.’
TIMELINE OF THE GREENS’ PLIGHT
February 2012 – Mark Green is headhunted for his specialist solar installation skills to fly his family out from Ayrshire 40km south-west of Glasgow in Scotland to a new life in Adelaide, South Australia, 16,000km away.
May 2014 – Mark has to change jobs, just one year away from qualifying for residency after the company closes.
August 2014 – History repeats and Mark has to find another new employer. The family is paying for all their own healthcare as they don’t qualify for Medicare on their visa and also $8,000 a year for daughter Rebecca’s education at the local public state school.
August 2015 – Mark has to find another new company. His son Jamie has had to fly back to Scotland because he was unable to work in Australia under the terms of the work visa and residency is at least three years away again.
April 2021 – The Green family discover the residency application Mark’s boss promised them was faked, unbeknownst to them. As a result their visa conditions had been breached which means they had to leave the country to re-apply. They begin work on trying to overturn the decision and get the visa reverted to the type which would allow them to stay in Australia while they apply. As the application drags on they realise they will be kicked out the country and start selling their prized possessions.
June 2022 – They make their first public appeal to the government for mercy, as friends and co-workers beg for an intervention the way the new Labor government saved the Biloela family and allowed them to stay in the country. The family have already spent $150,000 on visa applications and immigration lawyers.
July 2022 – Daily Mail Australia reveals their desperate plight and the story goes global, making headlines in the UK and on British TV.
August 10, 2022 – The family are due to be deported and have a flight booked at 10.20pm from Adelaide back to the UK, but they have no idea where they will live or work. After local MP Frank Pangallo puts them in touch with a new immigration lawyer, they’re persuaded to stay and fight at 3.30pm. At 7pm, just as they should have been checking in for their flight, they get a call from South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas telling them they’ve been given a reprieve. He persuaded Labor immigration minister Andrew Giles to give them an extra month to file their paperwork to stay in the country.
August 22, 2022 – The family are given 24 hours to fill in some 240 pages of visa paperwork.
August 29, 2022 – The minister wants the finalised full file on the family’s visa application to make his decision.
Why a hardworking family is being DEPORTED after paying taxes in Australia for more than 10 years – and they need your help to stay
This story about the harrowing plight of the Green family was published by Daily Mail Australia on August 10.
Mark Green was headhunted for his specialist solar installation skills in 2012 and flown to Australia with his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19.
He moved to his new home with the promise of their permanent residency being sponsored by the company flying him in.
But every time he’s been eligible, the employers have folded before the paperwork could be completed – and it’s now happened seven times to the devastated family.
‘I don’t want to go home. I don’t. I really don’t…’ mother-of-two Kelly sobbed in their empty Adelaide home after they sold off everything ahead of the family’s forced exit.
Relocating to the UK is set to cost $60,000 – and will force them to leave behind beloved pet dog Maisie because of the prohibitive $35,000 cost of flights and quarantine fees.
The Greens have already spent more than $150,000 on immigration lawyers and visa and residency applications but must leave the country before they can apply again.
‘We sold it all to come out here and then we started again,’ Mr Green told Daily Mail Australia.
‘And now we’re having to sell it all, to go back to Scotland, to try and apply to come back again, to restart again. For the third time.
‘I’m nearly 50. We can’t go through is anymore. There’s nothing for us back in Scotland now.’
He added: ‘This is where I live. This is where my heart is. It’ll never change. Even if I go back to Scotland, here is where I will class as home.’
The family have been on a sponsored work visa since arriving which has meant they need to pay for everything Australians take for granted, on top of paying their taxes.
They were denied access to Medicare or free public state schooling for daughter Rebecca, which costs them $8,000 a year – but they say they paid without complaint.
Electrical expert Mark Green, 44, was headhunted for his specialist solar installation skills in 2012 and flown out to Australia with his wife Kelly, 45, and daughter Rebecca, 19
‘It was the best day of our lives coming here. The best day ever,’ said Kelly, 45, originally from Kilbirnie, 40km south-west of Glasgow.
They want to stay in Australia permanently but currently just need their bridging visa changed from an E-type to a C-type to allow them to apply to stay without leaving.
The family has been undone by firms sponsoring Mark as an employee and starting a three year route to residency, but going bust before the process is complete.
‘The company went into liquidation and which means I have to start again, all three years, all over again,’ said Mr Green, originally from Prestwick, Ayrshire.
‘That’s happened seven times to me. Most of them closed because of warranty issues – they don’t want to guarantee the warranty of the product.
‘It ends up costing them money, so what they do is they shut up shop and they open up under another business name.’
Relocating to the UK is set to cost the family $60,000 – and will force them to leave their beloved pet dog Maisie (pictured with mum Kelly, left, and daughter Rebecca) behind because of prohibitive $35,000 flights and quarantine fees
The final straw came after one employer told him he’d applied for the Greens’ residency and paid their fees – but hadn’t, causing them to unwittingly overstay their working visa.
‘I was let down by my former employer,’ he said. ‘I trusted him and he lied to me.
‘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.’
Their son Jamie has already flown home to Scotland after the visa conditions meant he was unable to work in Australia for years.
The family has been fighting to stay in the country for a year but time is now running out and they’ve had to sell up ahead of next week’s deportation.
Mr Green won’t even be able to work in his industry when he arrives back in Scotland as his UK electrical qualifications are now out of date after a decade in Australia.
The final straw came after one employer told Mark Green he’d applied for their residency and paid their fees – but hadn’t, causing them to unwittingly overstay their working visa
He has nothing in Scotland and nowhere to live, with his elderly parents unable to cope with the family joining them while they wait for their visa to be approved.
‘Everything I hoped for here is gone,’ said Mr Green.
‘The stress is terrible. Absolutely terrible. It’s not fair. Not fair at all.
‘Nobody has been in contact with me about trying to sort this out. All they say to me is I have to leave the country.
‘My mum and dad are nearly 80 – as much as they would love to see us, they don’t want a family staying with them. It could take up to two years.
‘I thought I’d have my own company and my own home by now but instead our life is in turmoil.’
Their case has now been taken up by Adelaide politician Frank Pangallo, who compared them to the Tamilese Murugappan family from Bilgoela in Queensland, who had their visa conditions changed to let them stay despite arriving by boat.
‘They didn’t do it legally, unlike the Greens, and they got preferential treatment,’ Mr Pangallo, of South Australia’s Best Party told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Forcing a family to leave a country they’ve called home for 10 years simply to return to their country of origin to re-apply to return to Oz seems pointless and ridiculous.
‘And this is all happening while governments grapple with changes to the country’s skilled migration program due to massive shortages across the country.’
A plea to the previous Liberal immigration minister Alex Hawke was rejected and fresh appeal to the new Labor immigration minister Andrew Giles has fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Pangallo added: ‘If you want skilled migrants to come into this country, you better give them an undertaking they’ll be able to stay here and not be booted out when it suits you.
‘It’s absolutely disgusting.’
A spokesman for Mr Giles insisted the immigration minister never commented on individual cases, despite commenting extensively on the Biloela case.
She then told Daily Mail Australia: ‘The minister does not comment on the individual circumstances regarding the Green family.’