The law, introduced in February 2005, obliged people born outside the European Union and who only had a six-months to one year visa to seek special permission from the Home Ministry to marry even if their partner was a British or an EU national.
The plight of the many people caught up in this intricate legal tangle had complained of pain, misery, suffering, and humiliation. The move by the High Court came as a relief to many. Rights campaigners had opposed it saying that it did not make a distinction between genuine and sham marriages and sought to tar all non-EU nationals who applied for marriage as potential fraudsters.
The law was challenged when one immigrant was refused permission to marry a woman from within the "European Economic Area" (EEA) who had been living legally in Britain. The court ruled that it was incompatible with human rights law as it did not apply to those who wanted to marry within the Church of England. This amounted to discriminating against people of other faiths, including Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. It was not persuaded by the argument put forward by the Home Office that the exemption for the Church of England was valid because there was no evidence of any sham marriage rackets involving Anglican ceremonies.
This act was a knee-jerk reaction based on speculation rather than evidence. The House of Lords complained that the Act had not received proper scrutiny. By this judgment of the High Court, their concerns have proved to be correct.
Doctors, other than those from the European Union and favoured countries need to have a work permit under new immigration rules. This is for non-European countries starting July 2006. Those already here and do not have a work permit will have to return to their home country and apply for the same. However, work permit will be given against specific vacancies for which suitable "home-grown" doctors are not available.
The move has sparked criticism not only from overseas doctors but also from British medical experts. It is termed as a blow to "Meritocracy" as hospitals would have to give preference to "sons-of-the soil" over better qualified foreign applicants.
The decision to scrap the traditional permit-free training arrangement for international doctors is intended to give more opportunities to local doctors and those from the European Union countries. Under the new rules, hospitals will have to show that they are not able to find suitable local candidates. Overseas doctors from non-EU countries will