A SENIOR immigration lawyer has told how his Finnish scientist wife was brought to tears and left humiliated after officials looked in her ears before she did a UK Government assessment to help her stay in the UK.

Jamie Kerr said he and his wife Leena Kerr decided the most secure route to guarantee her right to remain in Scotland with their two children after Brexit would be for her to become a British citizen.

He told a fringe meeting at the SNP conference in Glasgow yesterday there are three elements of the process, passing “A Life in the UK” test, swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen and paying a fee of £1300.

Leena Kerr, who is a university researcher and has a PhD in microbiology, has lived in Scotland since 2004. She prepared for the test over the weekend and sat it Monday.

“After the test she phoned me in floods of tears. She was crying. She had passed the test but she was hurt she had had to do it,” he told the meeting.

“When she went to the test centre, her ID was checked three times in the space of half an hour. They looked in her ears to make sure she didn’t have a listening device, her watch was taken off her. She felt humiliated about having to go through this process.”

Kerr also told the meeting that the test had an English bias and there were questions he as a Scot could not have answered.

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell and Minister for Older People and Equalities Christina McKelvie also addressed the “Brexit: the Final Countdown” fringe meeting.

McKelvie likened Brexit to the Highland Clearances with both involving “rich, privileged, entitled” elites telling people what to do.

She said:”A few weeks ago I had the real privilege to be up at Helmsdale at the Helmsdale Games, and on my adventures up there I passed a place called Badbea and I stopped and I thought, ‘I’ve heard of this place.’

“So I went in and it was a clearance village. And I thought it was a village where people were cleared from – it turned out it was a village where people were cleared to.

“It’s on the cliff edge, and the wee legend said, ‘On the cliff edge, on the edge of Europe’. And it made me think about where we are now on that cliff edge.

“Rich, privileged, entitled people, shifting people to the cliff edge 300 years ago, 200 years ago, now. Still doing the same thing.

“Rich, privileged, Rees-Moggs telling us what we can and can’t do and pushing us to the cliff edge, to the edge. And that analogy was very, very powerful.”

Hundreds of thousands of people left the Highlands during the Clearances, which lasted between roughly 1760 and 1850.

The period became synonymous with cruelty at the hands of landlords seeking to cash in on sheep farming.

McKelvie said that one of the biggest threats posed by Brexit was not having human rights protected in the EU Withdrawal Act.

“Of course the UK Government say ‘these are not at risk’. But why take the Charter of Fundamental Rights out of the Bill then?”

Russell said he feared the conference may still be talking about Brexit issues next year and added he did not believe people were heading for the “final countdown”.

“What it is is we are in one of the interminable stages of Brexit,” he said.

“We are only quite near the beginning. The reality is we are still stuck in the exit discussions which were supposed to be the easy part.

“Then there is the political declaration, which was also supposed to be an easy part, and then you go into the hard part of the actual trade negotiations.

Kerr also raised concerns that Scotland is less prepared for Brexit than the rest of the UK, because of a “complacency” created by SNP ministers’ high profile stance on Europe.

The lawyer said he believed individuals and businesses in places such as Manchester and London were more prepared for Brexit than ones north of the Border.

“I think there is a complacency in Scotland and part of it I think is because the Scottish Government have been so active, we watch the ministers, the First Ministers, being very active and speaking to industry, speaking to businesses are affected.

“And in a way it makes us think ‘actually it will all be fine, the Scottish Government will sort it all out’,” he warned.