Thousands of skilled migrants will face deportation from the UK following the Government’s unlawfull and unfair change to the rules allowing them into the country, a parliamentary committee says.
The committee lambasts the Home Office for applying new rules retrospectively against thousands of the “bright and the best” encouraged to come to Britain to boost the economy.
The Lords and Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights urges Immigration Minister Liam Byrne to change the rules to ensure that they apply only to new migrants, rather than the 49,000 already in the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).
The committee says in a report published today that the changes breached the European Convention on Human Rights.
The migrants came to Britain under a scheme that awarded points to people with the skills that Britain needed and offered them the prospect of permanent settlement. The rules were tightened last year when ministers decided that settlement would take five years rather than four and changed the points system.
Points are no longer awarded for work experience, significant career achievements and having a skilled partner. Instead they relate to previous earnings, qualifications and age.
MPs have been deluged with complaints from migrants and their MP’s, many of whom have sold their homes and brought their families with them under one set of rules, and who now have to apply to remain under another set.
The committee says that after the changes many migrants no longer qualify for permanent residency and face the prospect of deportation with their families, despite having made their homes in Britain. This was a clear breach of the right to respect for home and family life contained in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“The case for immediately revisiting the changes to the rules in Parliament is, in our view, overwhelming,” the report says.
It adds that the aims of the changes are legitimate but applying them to people who have already settled under existing criteria is neither “in accordance with the law nor proportionate to the legitimate aim which the changes seek to achieve”.
Andrew Dismore, the committee chairman, said: “These changes are patently unfair, truly a case of moving the goalposts. What is being proposed is to cheat on the deal through which people have legitimately made decisions over their life here in the UK.”
The Home Office said: “The Government is committed to managing the numbers of foreign workers entering the UK in the national interest. The changes were needed to ensure that tougher checks on foreign workers are carried out both here and abroad to guard against the risk of abuse.”
Amit Kapadia, of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Forum, said: “The Government lured migrants to come to the UK to benefit the economy, then they changed the rules. People have made sacrifices, selling property, abandoning careers and moving their families. These rules should not operate retrospectively.”
The report will be of interest to Senior Carers currently experiencing similar difficulties with as yet unpublished changes to the rules on Senior Carer Work Permits.
Up to 20,000 in-country Senior Carers could be affected by the Border and Immigration Agency’s decision not to renew or extend Work Permits. Care Homes are bracing themsleves for a huge shortage of staff, which will undoubtedly put patients at risk.
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