Top judges deem UK immigration rule changes unlawful
The UK's highest court has decided that changes to immigration laws made by MPs must be reversed, because they weren't the subject of a full debate in the House of Commons.
Commentators are saying the ruling could affect judgments on whether people can remain in the country which have already been made.
The question concerned the so-called points-based system, under which immigration officers decide whether an application for permanent UK residence can be considered.
Earlier this year, changes were made to the list of skilled occupations in which the UK was considered to be in urgent need, but were implemented without a full debate in Parliament.
Because of this, the Supreme Court has decided that, as the list of approved occupations had not been put before Parliament, it was not part of the immigration rules, as set out in the 1971 Immigration Act.
A Home Office spokeswoman said after the ruling: "We will act quickly to ensure the requirements of this judgment are met and that the necessary guidance is transferred into the immigration rules."
The case which led to this decision was that of Hussain Zulfiquar Alvi. After arriving in the UK to study in 2003, Mr Alvi was subsequently given leave to stay until 2009. But a year later, he was told to leave, as his job was not at the required skill level.
But now, as the rules under which this decision was made have been found to be inapplicable, Mr Alvi has won his appeal to remain.
MP Keith Vaz said that, as a result of the ruling, "thousands of people will not know whether or not they are allowed to stay in the country."
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