The Law Commission Report on Simplification of the Immigration Rules: Proposals to reformat the Immigration Rules fail to tackle the hard issues

Press/Media: Expert Comment


The Immigration Rules define the day-to-day administration of the UK’s regime of visas to enter and remain in the UK. The current Immigration Rules, which have increased in length from 300 pages in 2008 to 1133 pages in 2018 (Simplification of the Immigration Rules Report (Report), 4.1), are ‘overly complex and unworkable’  and their structure, drafting style and cross referencing is ‘impenetrable’  (1.1). The Report investigates the drivers of complexity and identifies them as the frequency of changes to the rules (4.11), alongside the introduction of the Points Based System, the codification of Article 8 ECHR family life and the judgment in Alvi (4.12). But complexity and inaccessibility of the rules is a conscious policy decision, not just a product of litigation (Manning and Collinson, 2019), and tackling this policy is beyond the scope of the report (1.4). Thus while the Law Commission’s proposals tackle the Immigration Rules’ lack of accessibility and accuracy (with recommendations as to their clarity, presentation and oversight), these fail to address the underlying threat to the rights of migrants from the Home Office’s refusal culture and the lack of judicial oversight.

Period3 Feb 2020

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