HSMP climbdown by UK government welcomed by campaigners

Campaigners have celebrated the government’s climbdown on its controversial changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).

The Home Office this month published a policy document implementing the High Court’s ruling this April against the way it made changes to the HSMP in 2006.

In November 2006, the criteria for receiving an HSMP visa to work in the UK were toughened. Campaign group, the HSMP Forum, claimed the government acted unlawfully by making skilled migrants already in the UK under the scheme apply for extensions under the new laws.

This April, the High Court upheld the claim, telling the government to apply the old criteria to people holding visas granted before the changes were made.

Now the Home Office has updated its policy, implementing the High Court ruling and allowing migrants sent home due to the changes to reapply for their visas.

Amit Kapadia, executive director of HSMP Forum, said: “We are happy to have fulfilled our commitment in ensuring those affected by the unlawful changes are able to return back to the UK with due honour.

“Not only that: even the time they spent in their home country after the changes will be counted towards the settlement criteria on their return to the UK.”

Meanwhile, the HSMP Forum is considering yet another legal challenge – against the change in April 2006 to the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain, which went from four to five years.

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