Skilled migrant forum threatens Home Office with second judicial review over unlawful HSMP changes

Campaigners have given the government a 14-day deadline to make further changes to the controversial Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) – or face a second judicial review.

The HSMP Forum wrote to the Home Office on 30 July calling for home secretary Jacqui Smith to change the law so migrant workers that joined the programme before April 2006 can apply for permanent settlement after four years.

In April 2006, the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain was changed from four to five years.

Expecting people who entered before that date to work an extra year as migrants before receiving permanent settlement in the UK damages morale and costs workers more in student fees, the HSMP Forum claimed.

The campaigners insist a recent High Court judgement, which ruled that retrospectively applying November 2006 changes to the HSMP was unlawful, also covered the April 2006 changes.

In an official pre-claim letter, the forum wrote: “It is incumbent on the secretary of state to make provision so as to enable migrants who joined the scheme before April 2006 to apply for settlement after four years.

“This was very plainly a benefit of the scheme then in existence and there is no reason why provision ought not be made for such persons in the guidance.”

The government has yet to respond to the letter.

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