The home office have been accused of inflicting damage on the life of a highly skilled pharmaceutical by misusing the controversial clause in immigration law in which they tried to force her out of the UK. This week Nisha Mohite received indefinite leave to remain after a review by government officials found she was one of more than 300 highly skilled migrants who the Home Office had wrongly forced to leave under paragraph 322(5) of immigration rules.
The paragraph from the immigration rules is a discretionary terrorism related clause in which the Home Office states should only be used when the applicant’s misconduct is as equal as “criminality, a threat to national security, war crimes or travel bans”. However there has been many reports which suggests that the clause has been used to force applicants – including teachers, doctors, lawyers and engineers – out of the UK for making minor and legal amendments to their taxes.
If the decision has been made against an applicant and they choose to appeal the decision can take years to make. Whilst a decision is being made applicants cannot work or rent property and neither can they use NHS. Many feel forced to appeal because accepting the decision makes it highly unlikely they will ever get a visa for any other country.
Since the Home Office used the clause to reject Mohite’s application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in 2016 because of a tax amendment, she has lost her job and her home. Mohite, who specialises in the development of anti-cancer and anti-psychotic drugs, sold her possessions, spent all her savings on legal fees and is now heavily in debt.
On receiving her ILR, Mohite said: “While I’m delighted my two-and-a-half year torture is finally at an end, I’m furious and frustrated that the Home Office insisted on fighting through court after court, wrecking my life despite me proving repeatedly this was all an honest mistake. The damage they have done to me is irreversible.”
In November, the government released the findings of its review into the Home Office’s use of the controversial power in cases between January 2015 and May 2018.
Apart from the 300 people found to have had the paragraph wrongly used against them, the review suggested that up to 87 highly skilled migrants had already been wrongly forced to leave the UK. They were mostly people who had lived in the UK for a decade or more and had British-born children. Many were given just 14 days to leave and were no longer eligible for a visa to visit the UK or any other country.
The review found that another 400 people may have been wrongly affected. However, the total number is likely to be substantially higher with hundreds of cases still to be heard; the first-tier tribunal has 372 outstanding appeals against paragraph 322(5) and another 242 cases that could be allowed.