Migrants relieved; London HC revokes point-based system

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London, Apr 8 (UNI) The Highly Skilled Migrant Professionals (HSMP) in UK, numbering around 49000, heaved a sigh of relief when the High Court revoked the Immigration Ministry's application of new point-based system for granting stay permit with retrospective effect.

The migrants, over 30000 of whom are of Indian origin, alleged that they were being subjected to an unfair and discriminatory treatment by Immigration Ministry.

In a landmark judgment, the Lordships ruled that the Judicial Review application filed by HSMP Forum Limited against unfair retrospective changes to Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) in November 2006 has been successful.

The Immigration Ministry had introduced a new Point Based System in November 2006 and had retrospectively imposed it on the Highly Skilled Migrants who had entered UK as per earlier Scheme offered to them between 2005 and 2006.

''In the circumstances, I am satisfied that 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,'' Justice Sir George Newman said.

The High Court judgement confirmed the various appeals made by Highly Skilled Migrants, in its judgement stating ''the old scheme constituted an integrated and entire programme and that it was not open to the government to alter the terms and conditions upon which the pre-arranged stages were to be implemented.'' The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme was introduced in 2002 with the aim to provide an individual migration route for highly skilled persons who have the skills and experience required by the United Kingdom to compete in the global economy.

''It is ironical that the UK chose to play tough with the very category of migrants who are making valuable contribution to the economy without using public funds and have made a commitment to make UK their main home, said Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of HSMP Forum.

He expressed his satisfaction over the outcome of legal proceedings, ''initiated only after all other avenues for a positive resolution were exhausted''.

He said, The unfair and retrospective element of changes to extension criteria of HSMP were highlighted by the Highly Skilled Migrants through their MPs and a petition was handed over to the Prime Minister, Mr Kapadia said.

Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights as well as Commission for Race Equality had looked into the issue and submitted to the government that the changes were unfair and unlawful.

However, the immigration department was obsessed with defending their decision and were not open to any reasoning, he said.

''We had no other recourse but to approach the judiciary and we are glad that our trust in the Democratic System has finally been restored,'' he added.

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