High Court judge backs skilled migrants’ claim for full visa hearing

Skilled migrants won a significant victory in the High Court on Friday when a judge backed their claim for a full hearing into controversial changes to their visas.

An initial hearing ruled there was evidence the government had breached human rights legislation with changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). Justice Sullivan called for a full judicial review in January.

The government last week refused to accept that it did anything wrong in November 2006 when it toughened the criteria by which HSMP visas are handed out.

But campaigners maintain that up to 40,000 foreign workers could be forced out of the country by the retrospective changes. Those granted HSMP visas before the changes were introduced are effectively forced to re-apply under the stricter rules.

Amit Kapadia, director of action group HSMP Forum, told Personnel Today: “The initial hearing was a good result. The judge said there was a strong case of legitimate expectation for HSMP holders to remain in this country under the rules they came here on. We are confident we will win the hearing in January.”

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