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Britain not to appeal against court verdict

This will allow thousands of skilled migrants, most of them Indians, to live & work in UK, says the group that won the case last week.
IANS | By Dipankar De Sarkar, London
UPDATED ON APR 18, 2008 02:50 AM IST

The British government has decided not to appeal against a court verdict last week allowing thousands of skilled migrants, most of them Indians, to live and work in Britain, the group that won the judgement said on Thursday.

Amit Kapadia, executive director for the pressure group Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSM) Forum, said a senior official of the British Home Office had written to him saying the government was "happy to take the judge's decision as final and do not intend to waste taxpayers' money with an appeal".

The email by Lin Homer, chief executive of the Home Office's Border and Immigration Agency, ends lingering concern among HSMP visa holders that the government might appeal the April 8 High Court verdict in their favour.

Kapadia said: "This is a welcome gesture. We intend to work with Home Office to ensure that the judgement is fully implemented."

In the email, the British official said the Home Office will not deport affected HSMP migrants while their visa status is being decided.

"We are no longer issuing further leave [to remain] refusals to people affected by the judgement. Any HSMP migrant falling into the group affected by the judgement whose leave is about to expire can apply for an extension of leave," she said.

"If they do so before their existing leave expires, that leave will be extended until we have made a decision on their application in the light of the judgement. This means they can stay in the country legally until processes are put in place to implement the High Court's ruling.

"I am also aware that some of your members have appeals pending in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. We are looking into what can be done with forthcoming HSMP appeals to ensure that the court's decision is put into effect as efficiently as possible," she added.

Some 44,000 migrants who came to Britain on HSMP visas between 2002 and 2006 stood having to leave Britain with their families after the government made retrospective changes to the criteria by which highly-skilled migrants could live and work in Britain.

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