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Home Office won't appeal immigration ruling

Accepts defeat over skilled migrants switcheroo

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The Home Office will not appeal last week's High Court decision which found its attempt to backdate changes to immigration rules for highly-skilled individuals was illegal.

In November 2006 the UK began moving to a points based immigration system but the Home Office wanted to effectively backdate this - so anyone living and working here under a permit from the old system would have to reapply or leave the country. The government was taken to court by volunteer group the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme Forum.

Herr Flick lookalike Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said last week he was considering an appeal.

A Home Office spokesman sent us the following today: "We're happy to take the judge's decision as final. We won't waste taxpayers'’ money with an appeal and will now take the time to consider how to implement the ruling."

The two sides also disagree on how many people would be hit had the changes gone ahead - HSMP Forum reckons 49,000 while the Home Office believes the true figure is 1,300. Home Office figures are for principal applicants it predicted would have failed the test had it changed.

Justice Sir George Newman said in his judgment: "There is no good reason why those already on the scheme shall not enjoy the benefits of it as originally offered to them. Good administration and straightforward dealing with the public require it."

Anyone currently working in a category which will be deleted is now allowed to continue working until their original visa expires. The government will establish transitional arrangements while it sorts out the move to pure points based immigration. ®

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