HSMP migrants take British government back to court

October 23rd, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 23 (IANS) Skilled migrants in Britain said Thursday they are taking the British home ministry back to court because it has not obeyed a court ruling to honour the original terms of their visas.The British government was ordered by a judge in April to pay tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs and allow back into the country skilled migrants who had been forced to leave on account of changes to their visas.

After seeking out thousands of skilled Indians and other nationals through the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP), the government made abrupt and unilateral changes to their visa terms in 2006, prompting many to leave.

The campaign group HSMP Forum said it has filed a judicial review because the home ministry is denying that migrants have the right to apply to settle permanently in Britain after four years of working and paying taxes.

This deal, known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), was promised in writing to HSMP migrants by the home ministry but in 2006 the requirement for it was increased retrospectively from four to five years.

The Forum said the government move violates the April High Court ruling which said, “the terms of the original scheme should be honoured and that there is no good reason why those already on the scheme shall not enjoy the benefits of it as originally offered to them.”

Despite this, migrants and their families who apply to be permanent residents after four years are being issued with refusal letters and threatened with deportation if they do not leave on their own, the Forum said.

“The government is wasting taxpayers’ money in defending an unlawful rule change and a broken promise. The HSMP Forum is very confident that the UK judicial system will once again give justice to affected immigrants,” said Chandrasekar Elangovan of the HSMP Forum.

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