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Monday, May 07, 2018

How our economy is being undermined by the Tory obsession with immigration

In many ways nobody should be surprised at claims reported in the Guardian that at least 1,000 highly skilled migrants seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK are wrongly facing deportation under a section of the Immigration Act designed in part to tackle terrorists and individuals judged to be a threat to national security.

The Tories' obsession with unachievable net migration figures has always been blind to the best interests of the country as is evident from this story last month, that hundreds of doctors recruited by the NHS from overseas have been denied visas by the Home Office, leading to increased pressures in the health service.

However, the use of the controversial section 322(5) of the Immigration Act to deny indefinite leave to remain to highly skilled and economically desirable workers is a new low. Those refused include teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and IT professionals. Many are being accused of lying in their applications either for making minor and legal amendments to their tax records, or having discrepancies in declared income.

The paper says that in one case, the applicant’s tax returns were scrutinised by three different appeal courts who had found no evidence of any irregularities. The same figures are nevertheless used as the basis for a 322(5) refusal because of basic tax errors allegedly made by the Home Office itself:

Highly Skilled Migrants is a support group that represents over 600 workers and says it is in contact with over 400 more, most of whom are facing deportation under section 322(5), with the rest still waiting for a decision by the Home Office. Aditi Bhardwaj, one of the organisers, said the group has raised about £40,000 to challenge the Home Office in the courts.

“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,” said Bhardwaj.

“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.”

The paper says that cases include a former Ministry of Defence mechanical engineer who is now destitute, a former NHS manager currently £30,000 in debt, thanks to Home Office costs and legal fees, who spends her nights fully dressed, sitting in her front room with a suitcase in case enforcement teams arrive to deport her, and a scientist working on the development of anti-cancer drugs who is now unable to work, rent or access the NHS.

Not only is this an inhuman way to treat people, but it flies directly against the UK's national interest in developing our economy and delivering high quality public services. No party that presides over such a regime can claim to be patriotic, compassionate or competent.
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