About 1,000 Highly Skilled Immigrants Facing Unfair Deportation in UK

Many UK MPs and immigration experts say that the Home Office is misusing Section 322(5) of the Immigration Act.


About 1,000 highly skilled immigrants who are looking to get an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom are facing unfair deportation, UK experts and members of parliament say, the Guardian reported.

Many MPs and immigration experts have condemned the use of the controversial Section 322(5) of the Immigration Act, that was formed partially to address terrorism and people who are assessed as threats to the security of the United Kingdom, according to the report. They say that the Home Office is abusing the power that it has been vested with.

“Ten members of our group have taken the Home Office to the first tier tribunal over their use of 322(5) in the past six months. Nine of these won their cases, with the appeal judges ruling the government’s use of section 322(5) was wrong,” Aditi Bhardwaj, one of the organizers of the Highly Skilled Migrants group, a support group representing more than 600 workers, was quoted as saying in the report.

According to experts, the highly skilled workers, including teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and IT professionals, are being declined ILRs after accusations are leveled against them of lying in their applications — for either making small and legal modifications to their tax records, or for having inconsistencies in the income they have declared.

“At best, this suggests that the Home Office is recklessly incompetent in its use of 322(5). At worst, however, the section is being applied by the Home Office so often and being overturned so frequently when challenged at the highest level, that I question whether there is a blanket policy which the Home Office is using internally, which no one is aware about,” Bhardwaj added.

The way the 322(5) rules are being applied is “malevolent,” Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, said. “I urge the government to get their house in order before any more lives are needlessly ruined,” Thewliss was quoted as saying by the publication.

The Home Office, on the other hand, says that the inconsistencies in an ILR applicant’s tax returns prove that they have intentionally given false data, the report added. This gives the department the right to activate its discretionary powers of Section 322(5) of the Immigration Act, it claims.

The Home Office declines applications “in these circumstances only where the evidence shows applicants have deliberately provided false information to the government,” the publication quoted a spokesperson as saying.

Bhardwaj, however, said that rectification of tax error is not illegal or unlawful anywhere across the world, adding that it is not illegal even in the UK Financial Act 2007.

Ian Blackford, an MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, took to the social media to slam the Home Office policy, saying, “Stop going after people who are here legitimately.”

The people who are deported under this section of the Immigration Act have it marked permanently on their passports, which also makes them less likely to obtain a visa to visit or work in other nations.

Experts in the United Kingdom recently warned that the minimum salary requirement for a non-European Union migrant could go over £60,000 for the first time this year, placing a new burden on Prime Minister Theresa May’s immigration policy. Reports also emerged that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was examining a plan to get rid of the immigration target and then substitute it with an all-new annual quota.

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