Further weight has been added to the case against the government’s controversial changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) with a damning letter from the UK’s equalities body.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) wrote that the government had failed to provide satisfactory answers to concerns it raised about racial discrimination caused by the changes.
The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) wrote to the Home Office earlier this year saying it was “of the clear belief” that the race equality impact assessment of the changes to the HSMP did not comply with the requirements of the Race Equality Duty.
In a letter to campaign group HSMP Forum seen by Personnel Today, the EHRC – which superseded the CRE in October – said: “The Home Office’s reply accepts that the race equality impact assessment had significant omissions, and did not comply with Home Office guidelines.
“The EHRC does not agree that the reason for not publishing the race equality impact assessment prior to the rule changes is legitimate.”
The government faces a full judicial hearing in January over the law changes, made in November 2006 to make HSMP visas harder to acquire.
Campaigners are angry about the retrospective nature of the changes. Migrants who came to this country on HSMP visas before November 2006 were effectively forced to reapply for their visas under the new rules.