UK Visa Cap Deemed Unlawful

Late last week the UK High Court ruled in favour of a challenge to the temporary cap on skilled and highly skilled workers from outside the EU, decreeing that this interim cap was ‘unlawful’. The Judicial Review was brought about by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and affects both Tier 1 (General) and Tier 2 (General) applications from outside the UK.

In Friday’s ruling, Lord Justice Sullivan and Mr Justice Barton concluded that the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, had ‘sidestepped’ proper parliamentary procedure by implementing the interim cap without proper ministerial scrutiny.

Effectively, this ruling now renders the temporary interim cap void, and applications for Tier 1 (General) and Tier 2 (General) from outside the UK should be processed without prejudice or limits until the permanent cap comes in to force in April 2011.

Please note – the ruling does not mean that capping immigration was deemed unlawful; simply that proper procedure was not followed in its implementation leading up to the permanent cap next April.

Immigration minister Damian Green said “I am disappointed with today’s verdict”, stressing ministers would launch an appeal if “there were grounds” to do so.

“We will do all in our power to continue to prevent a rush of applications before our more permanent measures are in place,” he added.

The minister also stated that “’the court’s ruling rests on a technicality. We will set this right in the next few days to ensure we can continue to operate an interim limit.”

“We remain firmly committed to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands, and will continue to do everything in our power to prevent a rush of applications before our more permanent measures are in place.”

Whilst taking this ruling into consideration, we strongly suggest that you do not delay your application for your Tier 1 (General) visa, as this visa category will still cease to exist as of April 2011. Furthermore, the government could reinstate the temporary cap when parliament resumes in early January.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.