Visa rule: Pakistani sends UK scurrying
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Britain's immigration rules in force since November 2008 were rushed to the House of Lords after the Supreme Court ruled in a major judgement that they were illegal because they had never been before Parliament.
The Home Office was forced to take emergency action after judges upheld a complaint by a Pakistan national, who had been refused further leave to remain in the UK, that the list of skilled occupations used under the points-based system had not been scrutinised by Parliament.
The court's ruling on Wednesday was described by Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, as a "hammer blow" to the points-based immigration system.
It was not clear if applications refused under rules that were not scrutinised by parliament could appeal against the decisions.
The Home Office yesterday placed in the House of Lords over 70 'Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules' since 2003. It said the changes come into effect from today, and had been made following the Supreme Court judgement.
"The changes will not affect the way we consider applications. They support our ongoing work to simplify the immigration system and ensure that existing policy and guidance is transferred into the Immigration Rules where necessary," the Home Office said.
According to Vaz, "thousands" of people would be left unsure as to whether they would be able to remain in the UK as a result of the decision.
He said: "This judgement delivers a hammer blow to the points based system. The court is very clear that ministers must place rules before parliament for proper scrutiny. Their failure to do so over a number of years leaves the immigration system open to ridicule."
On Wednesday, the court ruled in the case related to Pakistan national Hussain Zulfiquar Alvi that ministers could not bar foreign workers unless rules used to do so had been shown to Parliament.
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