Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) are working with 65+ people within the Highly Skilled Migrants Group (HSMG) who have been denied indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK by the Home Office on the basis of historical self-employment ‘tax discrepancies’ 8 -10 years ago. In their cases, clause 322(5) has been used to determine that it is ‘undesirable’ for them to settle in the UK, including on the basis of their ‘character’ and ‘dishonesty’. The ‘discrepancies’ in question have been rectified with HMRC and do not amount to a criminal offence, which clause 322(5) also cites as grounds for refusal of ILR.
Nearly 90% of those with cases remaining are from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India or Sri Lanka. The remaining people with cases are Indo-Carribean or from Nigeria or Zimbabwe. All countries of origin are former British colonies.
What are we doing
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.
Working for change
The Interim Report has now been published, detailing the issues that will form the basis of parliamentary, government, public and strategic litigation engagement. The full report will be launched in late January 2021.
“MRN supported us to achieve justice against the inhumane policies of Home Office. The moment we met MRN, we were hopeless and had no direction. They helped us to achieve our tasks legally by knocking on the doors of the courts. MRN became the source to ignite light in the lives of many families for no reason other than to watch them enjoy the glow. We are extremely thankful to MRN and its staff for bringing back life of many young families.” Salman- Highly Skilled Migrant Group/ Tier 1 Community
Follow the Highly Skilled Migrant Group here .
Should you have any information on these issues or wish to know more, contact Katharine at [email protected]