New hurdles for Turkish business people looking to settle in UK

A British judge on Monday ruled against a group of Turkish entrepreneurs, formally imposing new requirements on Turkish business people hoping to settle permanently in the United Kingdom, the Financial Times reported.

Last March, the government announced it was ending the right of holders of Turkish Business Person ECAA visas to settle permanently in the UK after four years, asking for five years of residence instead, payment of fees of £2,389 per person and passing an English language test.

The Alliance of Turkish Businesspeople brought a judicial review challenge claiming the Home Office had acted unlawfully in imposing these additional requirements on Turkish business people and their dependants.

The alliance said the changes caused hardship and were unlawful under the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) with Turkey — known as the Ankara agreement — to which the UK became a party in 1973, according to FT.

On Monday Justice James Dingemans of a London High Court dismissed their judicial review claim and found in favour of the Home Office.

“In my judgment the changes to the policy can be objectively justified as a proportionate response to the public interest,” he said in the ruling. “This is because the Home Office was entitled to attempt to introduce some uniformity with the nationals of other states, and because changes to the requirements have been restricted so as to reduce the impact on the applicants for [indefinite leave to remain].”

Leni Candan, founder of the Alliance of Turkish Businesspeople, said the alliance was considering an appeal.

“We are very disappointed by this judgment, especially because the judge himself conceded that the Home Office’s policy changes breached our legitimate expectations,” she said in a statement. “We are saddened that the very real difficulties faced by business owners and their families as a result of this policy change have not been deemed unfair enough.”