THEIR battle with the Home Office was championed by The National and made headlines around the world.

But now Kathryn and Gregg Brain have been “gob-smacked” by an email from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) asking them to take part in an online customer satisfaction survey.

The email is in the name of UKVI director Adrian Dottridge, and reads: “UK Visas and Immigration would like to ask for your feedback about the visa application service in a short online survey.

“The aim of this survey is to find out how well we met your needs and how we can improve in the future.

“The questionnaire should take around 10 minutes to complete. It should be completed by the applicant themselves or a parent or guardian who applied on their behalf. If you are not the applicant, their parent or guardian, please send this invitation to the applicant.

“Your feedback will be completely anonymous; it cannot and will not be linked with your application in any way.”

Once the link is clicked, the next page reads: “We would value your views and feedback about your recent experience of making an application to visit, work, study or stay permanently in the UK… The results of this survey will help us to improve the service that you and others will receive.”

However, Gregg told The National: “We’re still gob-smacked – we don’t know if we’ll reply, let alone how. We haven’t even opened it up.

“We’ve said before that our situation had descended into farce, but this is a whole new dimension.

“We suspect even Kafka would be lost at this point.

“I hope they’re not expecting any enormous level of thanks from us.”

Ian Blackford, the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, who fought the family’s case at Westminster, was scathing about the email, branding it “crass and insensitive”.

“They really are something else,” he said. “From my point of view, for the Home Office to ask Gregg if the family is pleased with the service provided by giving them what should have been rightfully theirs – that is the post study work visa – after the Home Office put them through months of grief and in a situation where they were unable to work and accumulated substantial debts, it all defies words.

“It’s crass and insensitive – rather than ask if they are satisfied with the process the Home Office should be extending an apology to the family for the way they have been treated.”

The family moved to the Highlands on Kathryn’s student visa five years ago in anticipation of her obtaining a post study work visa that would enable them to achieve their dream of settling in Scotland.

However, the UK Government scrapped that scheme and offered nothing in its place, and it was only after a seven-month battle and a job offer for Kathryn from Macdonald Hotels and Resorts that they were freed from what had become a visa limbo. In that time neither was permitted to work and they used up all their life savings.

They are now settling back into life in Dingwall, where their seven-year-old son Lachlan has returned to Gaelic medium education. Kathryn started her new job as curator at Macdonalds Aviemore Resort on Monday.

However, there are still many families stuck in visa limbo, including Scott Johnson, an American citizen living in the Highlands with his Scottish wife Nicola and Lauryn, his Scots-born daughter.

He had to apply for his visa from a hospital bed in Inverness after suffering a major heart attack. His application was refused, and is now the subject of an appeal, but he has had no indication of when it will be heard.

Gregg added: “There are a few folk up here who would love to get a copy of the immigration survey. I think Scott Johnson would be quite anxious to tell the Home Office how he feels about the service they provided to him and the ridiculous decision they made regarding his situation.”

A Home Office spokesperson said the feedback invitation was “standard practice” but they would not comment further.

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