Indian Professionals Protest Over Rejected Residency Applications in UK
The Indians whose applications were rejected seek an indefinite leave to remain.
Highly skilled Indian immigrants in the United Kingdom are challenging the government in court for being denied the right to live and work in the country. A group of Indians, comprising doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and others, gathered outside the Parliament Square in London on May 2 to protest against “unjustified” refusals by the UK Home Office of their applications for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain.
Many of the professionals, who were refused an ILR, have appealed against the Home Office’s decision in the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal – the courts which hear immigration appeals, according to the Press Trust of India.
“Where there has been clear evidence that these applicants have lied on their visa forms, the courts have upheld our refusal decisions in most cases when these decisions are challenged,” the United Kingdom Home Office told PTI.
“The way some of these skilled professionals have been treated is worse than criminals. We have evidence to show that the entire approach of the Home Office is unfair because it is based on how to find a way to deny someone’s legitimate application to live and work in the country,” Aditi Bhardwaj, one of the convenors of the group, was quoted as saying in the report.
She added that the professionals being targeted hail from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria, who were in the United Kingdom on a Tier 1 (General) visa. They were eligible to apply for the ILR or permanent residency status after living and working for a minimum of five years but the visa was scrapped in 2010. However, they were still eligible to apply until April 2018.
However, many applications have been rejected due to discrepancy in the earnings declared to the Home Office and that to the UK’s tax department.
Mark Symes, a senior immigration barrister, has said that the refusals were nearly automatic.
“It is possible that a class action would be a good way for getting the law and the legal requirement for fairness to be clarified,” said Symes.
The protest by the Highly Skilled Migrant group came after a change of guard at the UK Home Office. Sajid Javid, a descendant of immigrants from Pakistan, took over as the Home Secretary after Amber Rudd resigned and assured the public that immigrants will be treated fairly.
The Home Office had been embroiled in a controversy regarding forcing members of the “Windrush generation” to leave the United Kingdom in order to meet net immigration targets. The Windrush generation includes immigrants from West Indies who went to the United Kingdom post World War II since they had a lack of workers. Rudd resigned after misleading the parliament over targets to remove immigrants from the country.