UK Liberty

Moving the goalposts

Posted in politicians on liberty, rule of law by ukliberty on April 10, 2008

Despite having been warned, by among others the Joint Committee of Human Rights, that the Government’s proposed changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme would be found unlawful, the Government decided to go ahead anyway, and lo and behold,

The government acted unlawfully in changing immigration rules for highly skilled workers who want to stay in the UK, the High Court has ruled.

In 2006, a new “points” system, based on education, previous salary and age, was introduced, changing the criteria for remaining in the country.

Opponents say 44,000 people in the UK under old rules must leave – but the Home Office says 1,370 are affected.

Judge Sir George Newman ruled that the original scheme should be honoured.

The government is considering an appeal against the ruling.

The point being, that you can change the rules for new applicants, but you can’t change the rules for people all ready here, having spent some time and effort coming here, complying in good faith with the rules as they were at the time, and making a new life in our country, with a legitimate expectation that they would be allowed to remain.

Now, I find it very frustrating that the Government goes ahead with such things despite having been warned by very respectable people and organisations they are unlawful.

I cannot help but feel there is a thinking in Government that, as in Youssef v Home Office, “at least it would be the courts, not the government, who would be responsible” for Johnny Foreigner loose on our streets.

And because of the Government’s bullheaded blundering a large number of immigrants have been needlessly distressed.

Don’t however hold your breath for any Minister resigning, particularly Liam Byrne MP who presided over this debacle, and who seems adamant that there is nothing wrong with it, to the extent of writing this nonsense to the JHCR:

Their only legitimate expectation is that their applications will be judged on the basis of the rules and criteria under the HSMP in force at the relevant time, namely the date of any decision.

The judgement can be found on Bailii.

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