India Times (Gurgaon, Haryana), February 5, 2008
LONDON: Several Immigrant support groups today accused the British government of being “discriminatory” and “vindictive” in its treatment of skilled Indian and other non-EU migrants in the UK.
The groups expressed their displeasure over proposed changes made to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) to coincide with British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne’s visit to India.
Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of HSMP Forum, said, “We feel the HSMP retrospective changes have been the worst of the immigration changes.”
“The Home Office has been inconsiderate, discriminatory and inhuman by applying these changes on those who already established their lives in the UK.”
He said thousands of Indians and other Non-EU nationals and their families are being treated “dishonourably” by the Home Office by forcing them to wind up their careers, businesses and schooling of their children after being invited by the Government with promises of work and settlement.
Since the HSMP started in 2002, the British government has invited skilled professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Technical personnel, Accountants and Entrepreneurs from other countries. But stringent rules mean that 90 per cent of them don’t qualify for extensions after their initial tenure ends.
Mikhail Spivakov, coordinator of another immigrant support organisation, Voice of Britain’s Skilled Immigrants (VBSI), said “Over the last few years, the Home Office has started to implement changes to immigration policy that have been described as vindictive.”