Skilled migrants under spotlight again as HSMP faces second judicial review

Campaigners have officially filed for a second judicial review against the government’s handling of changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).

The HSMP Forum claimed the government did not go far enough in its actions to implement a High Court ruling on the programme earlier this year.

The campaigners insist that April’s judgment, which ruled that retrospectively applying November 2006 changes to the HSMP was unlawful, also covered changes made in April 2006.

In November 2006, the criteria for entering the UK on an HSMP visa were tightened. Campaigners objected to the retrospective nature of some of these changes.

The High Court ruled in April this year that the changes were unfair because they meant foreign workers already in the UK under the programme were effectively required to reapply under the tougher rules.

In July, the Home Office updated its policy, applying the old criteria to people holding visas granted before the changes were made, and allowing migrants sent home due to the changes to reapply for their visas.

But the HSMP Forum insisted this did not go far enough. They said that the High Court judgment also required the government to reverse April 2006 changes that extended the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK under the HSMP scheme from four to five years.

Amit Kapadia, executive director of the HSMP Forum, said: “The Home Office has constantly declined to reverse the ILR changes, even after the recent High Court ruling in HSMP Forum’s favour.

“The changes to the ILR qualifying period in April 2006 unfairly required some migrants to make additional extension applications and pay further application fees, enforcing differential treatment among migrants.”

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