The Coalition government introduced the immigration cap on 28 June 2010. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has reported that it will challenge the cap in the High Court by way of JR proceedings. The JCWI’s response to the cap can be viewed here.
The JCWI and UK businesses which depend on skilled migrants to supplement gaps in local labour with skill shortages have brought JR proceedings of the government’s temporary cap on immigration.
According to the JCWI, the cap is unlawful because prior parliamentary approval was not sought by ministers before its introduction. Since the immigration cap was not debated in Parliament prior to its adoption into policy there has been no opportunity for MPs to fully consider what the appropriate limit on skilled and highly skilled visas would be. The JCWI takes the view that this failure is quite significant.
Conversely, the Coalition government argues that the temporary immigration cap was hurriedly implemented to prevent a large influx of Tier 1 (General) and Tier 2 (General) visa applications from non-EU applicants. The interim immigration cap in place until April 2011 only reduces overall skilled immigration by five percent. However, a surge is anticipated because a permanent cap on immigration is scheduled for introduction in April next year.
In particular the UK’s catering and restaurant sector is in tatters as most of their labour is in the Tier 2 (General) category which is badly affected by the UKBA’s new “refined criteria” regime.
Top politicians such as London’s Conservative mayor Boris Johnson and Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable have publicly condemned the temporary cap because it was damaging British industry and economy.