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Visa row: UK government defends decision to refuse right to live, work in Britain for Indian professionals

The UK government has defended its decision to refuse hundreds of Indian professionals the right to live and work in Britain, saying the applicants caught up in a visa row are guilty of misconduct. Following a long-drawn campaign by the Highly Skilled Migrants Group, the UK Home Office had opened a review into Tier 1 (General) visa cases involving teachers, doctors, lawyers and engineers from countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh being refused indefinite leave to remain (ILR) under a national security clause. At the conclusion of the first phase of the review, UK minister for immigration Caroline Nokes reported in a letter to the House of Commons influential Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) that her departments decision to refuse applications under Paragraph 322(5) of the UKs immigration rules due to a discrepancy in reported earnings had been The letter, however, also acknowledged that the review had thrown up 38 cases of Home Office refusals being overturned and allowed on appeal. The Highly Skilled Migrants Group expressed shock at the ministers attempt to downplay this figure, where applicants won their appeals in at least 38 instances The very fact that these appeals are being allowed on human rights grounds should hopefully prevent the future disproportionate use of this clause and prevent applicants having to challenge Home Office decisions in court, This should tell them that at the very least not to refuse people where there are serious human rights grounds, such as family ties in the UK and young children involved, Nokes confirms in her letter to HASC that the outstanding Tier 1 (General) visa decisions remain on hold pending the outcome of the review, holding out hope for the protesters that Paragraph 322(5) may be used in a fairer manner in future Home Office decisions for these applicants. The UK Home Office said it had so far reviewed 281 of these visa applications made by post and concluded that in 249 cases applicants had amended their tax record by more than 10,000 pounds and in many of the remaining cases, the differences were They were refused on the grounds that applicants had, most likely, exaggerated their earnings to the Home Office to claim enough points to obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK or, alternatively, substantially under-reported their earnings to HMRC (Her Majestys Revenue and Customs) to evade tax, British MPs, peers and legal experts have waded into the ongoing row over the past few months, warning that the discretionary 322(5) clause intended to expel terrorists from the UK was being The row involves migrants from outside the European Union (EU) who were entitled to apply for ILR, or permanent residency status, after a minimum of five years lawful residency in the UK. While the Tier 1 (General) visa they used was discontinued in 2011, former applicants were eligible to apply for ILR until April this year if they made up the required number of points on their application. However, legal experts noted a pattern of many such applications being turned down by Home Office caseworkers citing Paragraph 322(5) of the UK Immigration Act, a discretionary rule aimed at denying convicted criminals and terrorists the right to live in the UK. While the Home Office questioned the

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