HSMP Forum’s Press Release

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is acting in contempt of High Court

Dt - 16th April 2009

Embroiled in yet another legal controversy, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is acting in contempt of court by refusing to grant legitimate settlement to skilled migrants. The HSMP Forum won a high court judicial review against the Home Office on 6th April this month, the high court ruled clearly that the Home Secretary’s actions are unlawful.

Dr Ashish Vijayan, an orthopaedic surgeon, member of the HSMP Forum was shocked to receive a refusal letter telling him and his family to leave the country. They were threatened with deportation if they failed to adhere. Dr Vijayan received the refusal letter and deportation threat for himself, his wife and 14 months old child even after the Court ruled that the Home Secretary would be acting unlawfully if she did so.

The refusal letter dated 8th April 2009 concluded with a threat for Dr Vijayan and his family stating if “you do not leave the United Kingdom voluntarily you will be removed to India” 

Dr Vijayan said “My family and me were very confident that we will get our settlement after 4 years with the HSMP Forum’s high court victory and did not imagine that we will meet this fate. We are very depressed and in undue stress over the development. I will have to end up running around the immigration tribunal courts to make an appeal even though the home office is on the wrong side”. 

On 6th April, Mrs Justice Cox DBE in her Judgment declared that “...it would be unlawful for the Secretary of State to withhold indefinite leave to remain from all those members of the HSMP who were already on the scheme before the 3 April 2006, by reference to a qualifying period of 5 years continuous residence.”1

This was not the first judgement against the Home Office. In fact, more than a year ago now in a previous Judicial Review of HSMP Forum, the Court ruled, in the words of Sir Judge Newman, that the Home Office was guilty of a “conspicuous abuse of power”.2  It was the Home Secretary's failure to adhere to the High Court's decision for more than twelve months that led to a second Judicial Review. Her actions have yet again been ruled as unlawful.

Despite the clarity of both these judgements, the Home Secretary is still acting in contempt of court by threatening hard-working migrants to leave the country or be deported.

Amit Kapadia, executive director of HSMP Forum said: “It is astonishing that the Home Secretary has yet again acted in contempt of court even after a Judicial Review which was fought only because of the Home Secretary's unwillingness to abide by the law and the decision of the High Court in the first place. It is even more baffling at a time of economic crisis that the Home Office is yet again ignoring the court and leaving the tax payer to foot the legal bill for the Home Secretary's inability to adhere to the law. Not only is the Home Secretary is acting unlawfully, but to paraphrase the court, displaying a disturbing degree of insensitivity to the plight of Highly Skilled Migrants affected by these unlawful policies. Even if these were mistakes, it points to a fundamental incompetence on the part of the Home Office.”

Web links:

1)     http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2009/711.html

2)     http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2008/664.html

 
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