Fears for immigrants on work permits grow as changes to Highly Skilled Migrant Programme take effect

Fears are growing over the welfare of the tens of thousands of immigrant workers who face being forced out of the UK by sudden and controversial changes to the work permit system.

The Home Office’s retrospective changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) could force more than 40,000 people to leave the country.

The revamp has been blamed for the suicide of Bangladeshi Baitul Atque, who took an overdose of sleeping pills last month after his wife lost her HSMP visa.

Campaign and support group the HSMP Forum told Personnel Today that it was fielding rising numbers of distressed calls over the issue, and called for “urgent action” from the government.

Immigration minister Liam Byrne allegedly promised to review the changes after meeting with campaigners. But last week, as migrant workers continued to receive letters telling them to leave the country, he was on holiday and unavailable for comment.

Amit Kapadia, director of the HSMP Forum, said: “There are many people in states of severe depression – it is very worrying. Many people have families to support.”

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