Supreme Court rules UK immigration changes unlawful

18 Jul 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Supreme Court has stated that recent efforts by the Home Office to reduce the number of migrant workers in the UK could be unlawful.

Lord Hope, the Supreme Court deputy president, stated that Parliament is required to see any rules before they can be used, delivering a "hammer blow" to the current system, according to comments from Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz.

His comments came out regarding the case of Hussain Zulfiquar Alvi, a Pakistani man who came to the country in 2003 as a student and stayed on after his studies to work as a physiotherapy assistant.

Then, in 2009, Mr Alvi applied for further leave to remain under revised rules for migrants workers dubbed the points-based system. This resulted in the applicant being denied the required UK work permit because he did not have sufficient skills to earn him the required number of points to remain in the country.

Because Parliament had not been shown the specific Home Office rules relating to his occupation, Mr Alvi claimed that the decision to refuse him the UK work permit was unlawful under a 40-year-old law that states Parliament's Scrutiny Committee must examine all changes to immigration rules.

Fellow judge Lord Dyson also warned that the Parliament system for overseeing UK immigration rules may no longer be fit for purpose due to the increased workload.

Efforts are now being made by the Home Office to act as quickly as possible to ensure that the judgement requirements are met. But this could still mean that there are implications for many rejected cases since 2008 and possibly earlier.

Lord Dyson added: "The complexity of the machinery for immigration control has (rightly) been the subject of frequent criticism and is in urgent need of attention."

The ruling follows revelations that the new UK Border Agency computer system is currently running one year behind schedule and £28 million over budget.