Highly Skilled Migrant Programme changes not illegal claims Home Office

The Home Office has insisted that it did not break race laws with its controversial changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) wrote to the Border and Immigration Agency expressing concerns about the way the visa system was changed.

But a Home Office spokeswoman told Personnel Today: “We have responded to the CRE and believe we did fully comply with the Race Equality Duty.”

The duty was introduced in the wake of the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and gives public bodies a duty to promote racial equality.

Changes made to the HSMP in November 2006 required skilled migrants to meet tougher criteria before being allowed to remain in the UK or take up jobs. Campaigners have maintained that up to 40,000 migrants could be forced out of the country.

The CRE letter said 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.

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