The immigration system was in “disarray” last night after senior judges said Home Office rules to curb the number of migrants were unlawful.
The Supreme Court said ministers were wrong to bar foreign workers, students and other migrants from the UK under criteria that had not been laid before Parliament.
The case centred on a Pakistani man who was refused an extension to stay because he did not meet a new job qualification and salary criteria under the points-based system.
However, those requirements were detailed in a code of practice and were not included in official Immigration Rules that are presented to parliament.
The Home Secretary is bound by law to put any immigration “rule” changes to MPs and was therefore wrong to refuse Hussain Zulfiquar Alvi his extension, the Supreme Court concluded.
The Home Office will today introduce urgent changes into Parliament to address the blunder and meet the court requirements.
But legal experts last night warned the ruling could still have far reaching consequences and lead to a flood of legal challenges by those refused visas or work permits.
Shahram Taghavi, deputy head of immigration at solicitors Lewis Silkin and who was involved in the Supreme Court case, said: “Today’s ruling will have a profound impact upon the current corporate immigration system, and effectively represents a wholesale collapse of the legal framework for immigration policy in the UK.