Gordon Brown’s India visit inflames skilled migrant dispute

Prime minister Gordon Brown has been accused of “hypocrisy” over his India visit, as the government plays for time in its legal dispute with campaigners representing skilled migrants.

The likelihood of a Judicial Review this month into changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) receded after the Home Office asked for more time to file legal documents.

Protesters were angry that migrants – many from India – were being forced out of the UK by the changes, while Brown shook hands on the subcontinent.

Amit Kapadia, director of campaign group HSMP Forum, told Personnel Today: “The Home Office is trying to delay the matter. Justice delayed is justice denied. Gordon Brown is asking for more investment from India, yet its people are receiving letters telling them to leave the UK. It is hypocrisy.”

The Home Office was given until 25 January to file its final papers to the High Court, but asked for an extension until 22 February.

The Judicial Review will consider whether the government acted legally in November 2006 when it toughened the criteria for HSMP visas. Foreign employees already in the UK on the visas were effectively made to reapply under the new rules.

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