Family torn apart as Scottish-born woman is deported from Australia within days following a computer error

A Scottish woman may soon be deported from Australia and separated from her family due to an IT problem.

The Griggs have lived in Adelaide, Australia, for the past three years, but mother-of-two Kirsty, 53, have spent the last three months in the shadow of deportation to Scotland after a government IT error put their lives on hold.

She and her Australian husband Nick, 56, brought their son, 11, and daughter, 16, to Australia from Ayrshire, south of Glasgow, in 2021 to care for Mr Grigg’s elderly parents and create a new home.

But the family were forced to spend their savings on expensive immigration agents and bureaucratic fees after officials processed and rejected Ms Grigg’s online visa extension application before she even completed it.

They may soon have to be separated for at least 18 months, as Kirsty’s deadline for leaving the country is April 9.

“We fully intended this to be our new life and we stayed,” Ms Grigg told Daily Mail Australia.

‘We sold our house before we left and moved all our belongings, including our dog. We were like, ‘We’re moving to stay.’

Mrs Grigg (pictured centre) says her impending deportation has been difficult for the couple’s children

“We literally have nothing to return to. I have one sister, that’s about it. I would go back to nothing.”

Just before Christmas, the Griggs got their first indication that something was wrong after receiving a letter from Medicare stating that due to Mrs Kirsty’s changed visa status, she and the children would no longer be covered.

It was only by searching a spam folder that they found an email from Immigration showing that Ms Grigg’s visa extension had been rejected because it had been processed before Mr Grigg had completed it.

Despite the couple preparing to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary on Friday, the department said they were not “financially connected” to each other because they did not have a joint bank account.

They appealed as soon as possible on December 27, but were told three weeks later that they were six days past the 21-day deadline.

“It’s been a nightmare since December 27 just trying to understand what’s going on,” Ms Grigg said.

‘Everything is so black and white. “You didn’t do this, you didn’t do that.”

“It’s just brick wall after brick wall.”

The Griggs were told they had the right to submit an explanation as to why they had to consider their appeal and spend more than $3,500 (£1,800) on getting an immigration agent.

Kirsty Grigg (pictured right) is in danger of being sent back to her native Scotland

Kirsty Grigg (pictured right) is in danger of being sent back to her native Scotland

In return, they merely received another sample letter stating that they were late.

“The invitation to make a statement was basically pointless,” Grigg said. ‘The template that came out contained someone else’s data.

“It was just so stressful, we tried to get hold of politicians to see if we could get anywhere.

Ms Grigg said at no point were they able to speak to anyone directly and had to deal with the automated bureaucracy.

The dire situation was particularly difficult for the Grigg children.

“My daughter is very upset,” Mrs Grigg said. ‘She is really afraid that she is going to lose her mother, that is clear.

“She was very up and down and crying at school and everything else.

“It’s been hard for all of us.”

Ms Grigg said if she were forced to leave the family would have to make a “big decision whether to stay or whether we all went back”, as she has been told it takes about 18 months to get a new residency visa in Australia to request.

“It would be a year, a year and a half away from family for me,” Ms Grigg said.

‘I would have a hard time with it. I couldn’t stay separated for so long.’

Mrs Grigg said if she had to return to Scotland she would start all over again.

“It would be a disaster,” Mrs Grigg said. “I should leave, get a job and find a place to live.”

When the family originally moved, it cost around $32,000 (£16,500) to apply for Mrs Gigg’s visa, which the children were originally on but are now Australian citizens.

“We don’t have the money to reapply,” Ms Grigg said.

“We paid out professional fees, agent fees and citizenship fees and I basically used up all our savings.”

Since making their plight public, Grigg said they had received overwhelming support.

“It would have been nice if we could have sorted something out without doing that, but I think it was the right decision,” Ms Grigg said.

Her husband is a self-employed gardener, but is ex-RAAF and also worked as a photographer and photography teacher, having only started his own business a year ago.

Ms Grigg said he was still building it up, which meant the family was under financial pressure because of the money they had to spend fighting her deportation.

Ms Grigg said the family felt at home in Adelaide and were avid fans of the Port Adelaide AFL team and the Adelaide 36ers NBL side.

‘I love the sun. When we go back to Scotland it’s always cold, raining and wet,” Grigg said.

Their fate now rests in the hands of Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, and the family has been told not to make travel plans before April 9, her deadline for leaving Australia, because her family’s fate could change.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” Ms Grigg said.