In March 2019, MRN successfully intervened on behalf of a number of migrants and their families in the Balajigari case after the Tier 1 General visa scheme for Highly Skilled Migrants (HSMs) closed in April 2015. While the Balajigari, and subsequent January 2020 Tahir Yaseen case rulings have helped many HSMs to be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR), Katharine and MRN are working with over 65 people whose ILR decisions continue to be delayed or denied. We are deeply concerned about the criminalisation of HSMs using uniquely-applied subjective ‘good character’ decisions that have not been applied consistently or, in some cases, with clear evidence.
The Home Office’s decisions have left many individuals and their families destitute and struggling to survive, especially during Covid-19. Without the ability to work, rent or have recourse to public funding for at least 55 percent and job insecurity for the rest, many HSMs have also accrued substantial debt through soaring legal fees for these kinds of cases (322(5)) and are trapped: unable to leave the country and unable to legally pursue their cases.
MRN published an interim report in early December ahead of the publication of the full report in the coming weeks (more information coming soon!).
The work to raise the profile of these cases and highlight the disproportionate discrimination continues. Understanding their plight and helping to fight the injustices towards this particular group has much wider implications not only for our future work but also for migrant communities across the UK.