Bearsden scientist is allowed to stay in the UK

Kevin and Lynne with their daughters Skye (4) and Aveery (10)
Kevin and Lynne with their daughters Skye (4) and Aveery (10)

A Canadian scientist who was ordered to leave the UK despite having a government research grant is now allowed to remain here permanently.

Milngavie MSP Gil Paterson has thanked the public for their overwhelming support for Dr Kevin Parsons, a University of Glasgow biodiversity lecturer who lives in Bearsden.

The Home Office threatened to deport Dr Parsons despite him holding a £1.32 million UK Government research grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for climate change, which employs three people.

The father-of-two, who has a British-born daughter, risked his family being torn apart after a series of exchanges with the Home Office, ending with him being told to leave the country, his wife and two children, by June 11 after the Home Office refused to renew his visa.

Now, Dr Parsons has been given Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which is a permanent residency “granted to people who have already shown a commitment to the UK on a temporary visa”, according to Visa Bureau.

Mr Paterson said: “Dr Parsons contacted me for help because the Home Office was intending to boot him out of Scotland because of what seemed to be an administration error.

“Naturally, I was aghast that a scientist with a UK Government grant was going to be removed from the UK, even by the Tory standards on immigration, it was totally absurd.

“While I am delighted Dr Parsons’ family can breathe a sigh of relief now, the cost they have had to endure is outrageous.

“That more than £13,000 has been splurged on this process is an utter outrage and it casts an eye on how inefficient and crazy our immigration system can be.”

Dr Parsons said: “I would like to thank Gil Paterson and his office for their role in helping to resolve my immigration status.

“I am relieved the Home Office has allowed me to stay in Scotland.

“The whole incident has been an incredible stress for not just me, but my wife Lynne and daughters Avery and Skye.

“The media attention and public profile of my case has been humbling to see and I thank each and every person who spoke out for me.

“I am eternally grateful.”