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Cath Everett

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Immigration cap could be challenged

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The coalition government’s decision to cut off Tier One visas to skilled workers from outside of the EU with effectively no notice could be subject to legal challenge, an immigration specialist has warned.

 
The same applies to the setting of an interim limit of 10,832 on the number of certificates of sponsorship that are available to employers under Tier Two (General) rules. The measures were applied with immediate effect and will last until 5 April next year, but existing visa allocations will not be affected.
 
The government’s action followed a High Court judgement last Friday, which ruled that its temporary cap on Tier One and Two (General) visas was illegal because it had “sidestepped” Parliamentary scrutiny after rushing the measure through in July.
 
But immigration minister Damian Green confirmed the cap would be reintroduced yesterday after he claimed the “technicalities” that resulted in the procedure being ruled unlawful had been revised.
 
The case against the government had been brought the English Community Care Association and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants amid concerns about the impact of the cap on the care home sector.
 
The UK Border Agency announced that, from 00.001 this Thursday, it would no longer accept Tier One (General) applications made overseas by highly skilled workers that did not have a firm job offer because quotas had already been reached. This immigration route would also not be reopened in the future, it added.
 
Applicants already based in the UK who are currently going through the immigration process will be apply to apply for such visas until 5 April next year. Details of transitional arrangements beyond that date will be announced at a later stage.
 
But Monika Jablecka, an immigration specialist at UK immigration and service firm Migra & Co, said that the government’s moves appeared to fly in the face of the High Court’s judgement and “it remains to be seen whether the UKBA’s game will pay off or be again challenged in a court of law”.

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