UK Immigration Rules: Acquire astronomical length

August 28, 2018

Series of changes

Home Office officials have made a series of changes (5,700) to the immigration rules after 2010. Presently the visa system is impossible to navigate, as per the observations of judges and lawyers.

The length of rules presently is 375,000 words, which leads to a complex system that is indeed a disgrace as per Lord Justice Irwin.

UK Immigration Rules: Acquire astronomical length

There were 1,300 changes in 2012. Now the new home secretary, Sajid Javid, has an aim of introducing changes in form and tone but presently there are no substantial changes in policy. Moreover, an analysis proves that at some instances the Home Office introduced changes at a great speed, publishing new changes only a week apart on seven occasions. The overall number of changes to the regulations since 2010 is 600,000 words.

Nature of rules

The immigration Barrister, Colin Yeo says that the rules are extremely precise, making it essential to use the services of lawyers. This also forces applicants to pay excessive legal fees. Attempts regarding eliminating discretion from the rules since 2012 led to removal of human element, and compassionate judgments.

The frequency of the changes makes it difficult to keep a track. Moreover, one has to read everything making it hard to capture every relevant change for clients. The writing of changes is bad, and difficult to understand, not only for people but also for judges and lawyers.

A major change during the period is an extensive loss of appeal rights that was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014. Through it, there is less scrutiny of the Home Office. In several cases, the refusal rate for migrants is high.

Increased numbers

The migrants who apply to stay in the UK after suffering domestic violence has vastly increased between 2012 and 2016. Presently there must be rewriting of the rules in a substantial manner.

The Law Commission is simplifying the rules after a review, which commenced in Dec 2017. It will recommend making the rules clear for caseworkers at the Home Office and also for the judiciary. Recently there is a policy of making the rules specific and detailed. The objective of being transparent is defeated.

The Home Office intends to introduce a clear and plain language and look to the ways to present rules on the internet for applicants. The changes focus on employment status and earning in applications made for work visas.

Nature of changes

A Home Office official says that the number of individual changes in immigration rules do not indicate a policy change.

Changes are made for many reasons, like delivering significant policies which support broad government priorities. They also respond to the needs of users of immigration services. They are laid out in parliament and are finally communicated to various stakeholders.

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