Man facing deportation over £78 cash shortage

Bus tycoon Ann Gloag has criticised a tribunal ruling which has left an Indian man - sponsored through university by a charity set up by Ms Gloag - and his family facing deportation.

Swarthick Salins' application for leave to stay in Britain was rejected by a judge after his savings fell £78 below the minimum level set by the UK Border Agency.

Mr Salins, 37, who has lived in Scotland for nine years, studied for a PhD at St Andrews University with backing from the Balcraig Foundation, a charity set up by multimillionaire Stagecoach founder Ms Gloag.

The married father-of-three, whose children - daughter Ruhaani, aged six, and sons Rabboni, five, and Adonai, three - were all born in Britain, hoped to get work with Third World aid agencies and sought approval to stay in the UK.

But a judge at an asylum and immigration tribunal in Glasgow refused his application because his bank balance fell to £721.23 last September.

Home Office rules state that people who appeal to stay in the UK must have at least £800 in savings for three months before they apply.

Ms Gloag said the ruling was "perverse and ludicrous".

She said: "This judgment consigns a hard-working, law-abiding family who have known no other life to dreadful uncertainty. I have never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life. And this is all over £80.

"I am truly appalled.  His children were all born here and they are fine young Scots. I plan to do anything to keep this family together in their adoptive homeland."

Mr Salins, who lives in Perth, said: "My wife is distraught and we are hoping against hope that all will be well in the end. We don't claim a penny from the state. At the end of the day, it was down to an oversight.

"My children love life in Scotland.  The two older ones are enjoying school and consider themselves more Scottish than Indian.  We have integrated well with the community and I can't even begin to explain to them why we are getting kicked out."

He is now planning to lodge an appeal against the decision with the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said: "I have spoken to Swarthick Salins and will be taking up his case immediately with immigration officials and the Home Office.

"This case is bizarre and ridiculous and only serves the purpose of undermining confidence in our immigration system. Perth has been Swarthick Salins home for the past 9 years, he has 3 dependent children born in this country, and is fully integrated into the local community. To boot him out on the basis of £80 is absolutely absurd."

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "It is important that migrants are able to support themselves and their dependants when they are here. Allowing the entry of those unable to support themselves would have negative social consequences for the individual and for the UK."