HE Secretary of State for Scotland is backing the fight to keep a top US session musician in Scotland.
Alistair Carmichael will press his UK government colleagues in the Home Office to think again about the case of percussionist Steve Forman.
Dr Forman, a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, who played with musical legends such as Pink Floyd and David Bowie, is fighting deportation.
An immigration appeal judge last month issued a strong ruling in favour of the 68-year-old.
But the Home Office has refused to accept defeat and asked for permission to appeal the decision.
Now Mr Carmichael, the Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland has agreed to intervene on Dr Forman’s behalf.
He will shortly meet his coalition colleague, Tory immigration minister James Brokenshire, to discuss the issue.
Last night, a spokesman for Mr Carmichael said: “It’s fair to say that the Secretary of State is sympathetic to the cause.
“He will be talking to the Home Office within the next couple of days, and discussions are ongoing.”
The Home Office wants to deport Dr Forman on the grounds that his salary at the Royal Conservatoire is below the minimum required under immigration rules.
The musician told an immigration appeal in December that his actual earnings, once royalties and other sources of income were taken into account, were much higher.
The hearing in Glasgow, which was attended by dozens of Dr Forman’s supporters, including many of his students, heard of the enormous contribution he had made to the cultural life of Scotland over the past six years.
The judge ruled last month that Dr Forman presented an exceptionally strong case to be allowed to stay.
Dr Forman’s constituency MP, Ann Mckechin, met Mr Carmichael on Wednesday afternoon.
Dr Forman said: “I’m grateful to Ann McKechin for getting involved, although I don’t know what the legal implications are.
“In general I feel good that the UK has a legal system that can move laterally – that’s what the appeals process is for.
“On the other hand I’m really frustrated. I’m in limbo, I really want to move forward. I understand the system is working though, I’m just glad it’s there. ”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “An application for permission to appeal the Tribunal’s decision has been lodged and we await a decision. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
The MP for Glasgow North said: “I think he accepted that Steve is an asset and that he is self-supporting.
“I met with him just to explain the circumstances. He accepted they were unique and said he would meet with James Brokenshire in the next few days.
“Alistair Carmichael is asking the Home Office to examine the file. The level of concern expressed across Scotland – locally and nationally – has prompted him to speak to his opposite number in the UK parliament.
“The Home Office ultimately have to make the decision but I would hope they would reconsider.”