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Immigration: Highly Skilled Migrants

Volume 688: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What changes have been made this year to the highly skilled migrant programme (applications by young people for highly skilled migrant status); why they were made; when; after what consultation; and when they come into force. [HL142]

I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement presented by my honourable friend the Minister of State for Nationality, Citizenship and Immigration on 7 November. (col. 39WS)

In that Statement the reasons for the changes to the highly skilled migrant programme (HSMP) were explained. The Statement went on to explain that the previous HSMP rules were being suspended and why: we took these steps to avoid a rush of speculative applications by people who would wish their applications to be considered under the old rules, which is what happened after the publication of the Command Paper on the points-based system. The suspension was to enable us to make the transition effectively to the new rules and to ensure that current levels of customer service were maintained when the new arrangements were introduced. In the interests of good customer service, we made sure that this would not disadvantage applicants substantively. The changes came into effect on 5 December 2006.