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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Hope for skilled Indian migrants

UK's parliamentary joint human rights panel terms changes to immigration rules that adversely affect Indian origin professionals and others as "unfair and unlawful", reports Vijay Dutt.

world Updated: Aug 10, 2007 06:09 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times

There’s hope for skilled Indian migrants that fall under the highly skilled management programme (HSMP) category, who have been facing the threat of deportation after the British Government changed its rules in November

A joint Lords and Commons Parliamentary Committee’s report termed the Government’s action as unlawful and unfair, criticised 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.

It urged Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, to change the rules to ensure that they apply only to new migrants, rather than the 49,000 who have already arrived under the HSMP.

The Committee pointed out Thursday that the changes breached the European Convention on Human Rights. The migrants came to the United Kingdom under a scheme that awarded points to people with the skills that Britain needed and offered them the prospect of permanent settlement.

But the rules were tightened last year when the Government decided that settlement would take five years rather than four and changed the points system. Points were no longer awarded for work experience, significant career achievements and having a skilled partner. Instead they related to previous earnings, qualifications and age.

The MPs and peers quote an estimate from the Highly Skilled Migrants Forum that 90 per cent of the 49,000 migrants may be asked to leave the country. Amit Kapadia from the Forum said they had been trying to stall deportations by “fighting the rules legally and as well making representations to the Home Office”.

“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,” Kapadia stressed.

Dr. S Ghosh, whose future hangs in the balance, said: “What a situation to be in! On the verge of being kicked out of the country after being made to sign a declaration that Britain would be my new home and taking all reasonable steps to fulfil my commitment to do so. No way of getting back my job in Bahrain. No hope of finding a job in India. My child’s future is in shambles.”

First Published: Aug 09, 2007 19:37 IST