Highly Skilled Migrant Programme review takes place today

The long-awaited judicial review of controversial changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) is to take place today (5 March).

Lawyers representing campaign group HSMP Forum will argue that changes made in November 2006 by immigration minister Liam Byrne were retrospective and meant foreign workers already in the UK were effectively required to reapply under the tougher rules.

Campaigners have estimated up to 40,000 foreign workers could be forced out of the country by the changes.

Opposition MPs, an immigration judge and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have all previously said the changes were unlawful.

Thousands of immigrants who came to UK under the HSMP, including doctors, engineers, accountants, technicians and other professionals have been eagerly waiting for the outcome of the judicial review.

Amit Kapadia, executive director of HSMP Forum, said: “The government abused its power by applying the HSMP changes retrospectively. The very concept of the HSMP scheme has been changed by the Home Office from that of work and settlement to a temporary workers scheme to exploit immigrants.

“Our barristers will be arguing that the changes are both unfair and unlawful.”

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