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In a letter to the Home Affairs Committee, the Home Secretary has said that applications for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) by highly skilled migrants that could face refusal under paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules have been put on hold pending the findings of a Home Office review.
For background on the controversy over highly skilled migrants being refused under paragraph 322(5) for minor and non-criminal tax discrepancies, see our earlier article here from last week.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, wrote a letter to the Home Affairs Committee Chair, Yvette Cooper, on Friday and gave the following further details on the matter:
“As you are aware, I have asked the Immigration Minister to conduct a review of the cohort of cases who arrived under the Tier 1 General route and were refused due to discrepancies with their HMRC records. I expect the review of the initial cohort of applications identified to be completed by the end of May after which I will report back to the Committee
“I can confirm that all applications potentially falling for refusal under the character and conduct provisions of paragraph 322(5) in the Tier 1 (General) ILR and 10-year Long Residency routes, where the applicant had previously been in the Tier 1 (General) route, have been put on hold pending the findings of the current review.
“As part of the review of these cases we are checking individual case records to identify any applicants who were removed having been refused Indefinite Leave to Remain under paragraph 322(5). We have identified 19 individuals who were refused Indefinite Leave to Remain and subsequently made voluntary departures from the UK. One has since been issued with a visa to return to the UK having applied under a different provision of the Immigration Rules. We are also analysing further data regarding other individuals who were refused Indefinite Leave to Remain having applied under the 10-year Long Residency provision and who were previously in the Tier 1 (General) route to determine how many might have been refused under paragraph 322(5) and were subsequently removed or made voluntary departures from the UK.
“You have also asked how many individuals in this cohort are challenging their decisions. Between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2017, 238 applicants sought to challenge the refusal of an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Tier 1 (General) route through a Judicial Review, of which 189 were against a refusal on paragraph 322(5) grounds. We are also reviewing appeals data for those in the 10 year long residency route who were previously in the Tier 1 (General) route and we will set out our full findings as part of the review that we expect to complete by the end of May.”
In response to the Home Secretary’s letter, Yvette Cooper said today: “We’ve heard of a series of cases of highly skilled workers, employed in our public services and senior jobs legally for many years, now being told to leave apparently due to minor tax errors. So it is welcome that the Home Secretary is now reviewing all those cases and putting decisions on hold.”