UK reimposes interim cap on non-EU migrants

Last week, the high court had ruled that the interim cap was 'unlawful' on the ground that the measure has been introduced without parliamentary scrutiny.

In a statement to parliament after the ruling, Immigration Minister Damian Green confirmed that the interim limit on skilled workers from outside the EU was 'legal and back up and running' after changes had been made in light of the ruling.
Thus, between now and April 2011, Green announced that a limit of 10,832 visas is in place for skilled workers from India and other non-EU countries.

A permanent cap will be in place from April 2011.
"By explicitly giving the figure to Parliament, the policy now satisfies the Court's judgement", official sources said.

The temporary cap was introduced in July 2010 to control the number of visas granted to skilled and highly skilled workers.

Defending the temporary limit following the judgement, Green said: "This ruling is about process not policy — the policy of having a limit has not been found to be unlawful".
"The Court's ruling rests on a technicality, which we have set right today to ensure that from now the interim limit is back up and running," he said.

He said the judgement does not affect the annual cap in any way.
The interim limit was a temporary measure introduced specifically to tackle a rush of applications ahead of the introduction of the annual limit.

"The Government remains firmly committed to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands," he said.

Green also announced that the interim limit for highly skilled workers (Tier One) has now been reached.

"As a result of the volume of applications received since the interim limit was introduced last July, no more Tier One visa applications from overseas will be accepted after 22 December," he said.

The legal challenge to the temporary cap was brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and English Community Care Association.

The cap was one of the first measures of the coalition government that promised to bring down immigrations from hundreds of thousands every year to "tens of thousands".

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