In an embarrassing blow to the Conservative-led government's desperate attempt to limit immigration, the High Court has declared illegal an interim cap imposed on the entry of skilled and highly skilled workers from India and other non-European Union countries.
Those affected by the measure can now re-apply for work visas.
The Court held that the cap was unlawful as it was introduced without a discussion in Parliament or parliamentary approval.
The measure was brought in by Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May in June to prevent a rush of applications ahead of a fixed annual cap due to come into force in April.
The judges ruled that Ms. May had tried to “side-step parliamentary scrutiny” and, therefore, the cap was not valid.
“There can be no doubt that she was attempting to side-step provisions for Parliamentary scrutiny set up under provisions of the 1971 Immigration Act, and her attempt was for that reason unlawful,” said Lord Justice Sullivan, one of the two judges who gave the ruling.
The cap was challenged by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and the English Community Care Association. They argued that the Home Secretary had deliberately rushed in the measure to avoid a discussion in Parliament.