Home secretary Jacqui Smith ended a torrid week with the accusation she was in contempt of court after a skilled migrant was refused a work visa extension on grounds that were recently ruled unlawful.
Campaigners wrote to the Home Office last week to express their concern that ‘Mr S’ was denied an extension of his Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) visa.
But on 13 May, Mr S was refused an extension on the basis of the quality of his English – a test only introduced in November 2006.
Amit Kapadia, director of the campaign group HSMP Forum, wrote of his “astonishment” to Borders and Immigration Agency chief executive Lin Homer.
“This seems to be a serious failure of your system, keeping in mind that more than five weeks has been taken on the pretext of implementing the judgment,” he said.
Kapadia called for a firm commitment that no further refusals would be issued in contravention of the High Court judgment.
Meanwhile, he revealed plans to launch a fresh judicial review to challenge the April 2006 decision to make HSMP holders complete five years on the programme, rather than four, before gaining permanent residency.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have said before that we accept the judge’s ruling as final and we will not waste tax payer’s money by pursuing an appeal. We are working hard to ensure the remedies we put in place are clear and work as smoothly as possible. We will provide details of these arrangements soon.
“As with all applications for leave to remain, anyone who feels their application was incorrectly refused can ask the Home Office to reconsider or, where appropriate, appeal to the independent courts to overturn the decision.”