LONDON, Jul 11: In a major policy change, Britain has decided to allow thousands of Indian professionals, who left the country after the November 2006 immigration rules changes, to return.
All Indian and other non-EU professionals will now be allowed to return to Britain and continue under the criteria under which they first entered as part of the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme. Such professionals who now apply to return to Britain will not have to pay application fees to process their papers.
Over 5,000 highly skilled migrants, most of them Indians, had left Britain following the changes that were challenged in the High Court. On April 8 this year, the court ruled that the November 2006 changes could not be applied retrospectively.
Amit Kapadia, executive director of the HSMP Forum that successfully led the legal challenge, said: "We are happy to have fulfilled our commitment in ensuring those affected by the November 2006 illegal changes are able to return back to UK with due honour... Even the time they spent in their home country after the changes would be counted towards the settlement criteria on their return to UK."
"The new policy guidance covers not only migrants who were approved before November 7, 2006, but also those who were refused extension under the unlawful rules, including those migrants who did not apply for extension and migrants who have either switched immigration categories to more restrictive visa regimes or left the UK as a result," Kapadia said.
He said the forum will closely monitor the implementation of the court's judgement and would work with officials to ensure that all affected professionals were treated with respect and dignity in restoring their status as highly skilled migrants in the UK.