Care workers and bosses are this week celebrating a “huge victory” after the government’s temporary immigration cap was ruled illegal and quashed last Friday.
The High Court decision means many overseas care workers could have work permits reinstated after having had them removed.
The decision is a victory for the English Community Care Association (ECCA), which lodged a judicial review of the cap on the grounds that home secretary Theresa May failed to follow correct parliamentary procedure during its implementation.
ECCA also claimed the cap made it impossible for the care sector to provide continuity of care, because all new visa applications for skilled care workers from outside Europe had been rejected since July.
The measure left some homes completely unable to provide care, the ECCA claimed.
The judgement by Lord Justice Sullivan and Mr Justice Burton will mean the cap is quashed and tens of thousands of work permits must be reinstated, according to the lawyers involved.
More than 65,000 migrant workers’ visas have been removed since the temporary cap on workers from outside the European Economic Area was imposed in July.
Kash Majeed, from Aston Brooke solicitors, who brought the case for ECCA, said the decision was a “huge victory for the care sector, which employs a large volume of overseas migrants who were subject to the cap”.
“I was always confident of victory and felt that it would have been a great injustice if we lost,” he added.
ECCA chief executive Martin Green said he now hopes to “engage in discussions with Mrs May” to ensure the planned permanent cap is amended so that the care sector is not “severely hit” again when it is imposed in April.
Immigration minister Damian Green said: “I am disappointed with the verdict. We will study the judgment and will appeal it, if we have grounds. We remain firmly committed to reducing net migration and will be introducing a permanent limit on non-European workers next April.
“We will do all in our power to continue to prevent a rush of applications before our more permanent measures are in place.”
Care charity mounts legal challenge to immigrant cap