Immigration Rules too complicated – is help at hand?

It is a trite observation that the Immigration Rules are too long and complicated. Lord Justice Jackson at the Court of Appeal achieved some measure of immortality when he claimed a few years ago that they had achieved a level of complexity “which even the Byzantine Emperors would have envied”.

Anyone who has struggled with the intricacies of for example Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules or Appendix FM family rules is likely to agree with him.

Anyway, the Home Secretary Ms Amber Rudd has announced a review of the Rules, to be carried out by the Law Commission. The Law Commission will, she says, “review the Immigration Rules to identify principles under which they could be redrafted to make them simpler and more accessible to the user, and for that clarity to be maintained in the years to come”.

But on the other hand, she said of the Appendix FM family rules that “The non-EU family reunion legislation is reasonable. I accept that we need to make it simpler and that is why I have commissioned the Law Commission to look at that, to see what we can do about it, but I think the regulations and the policy in place for non-EU family reunion is correct…”.

There may be the seeds of philosophical conflict here: what she seems to be saying is that the complexity or the rules will be maintained, but supposedly presented in a simpler way.

But in any event it will be interesting to see what the Law Commission come up with and we wish them the best of luck in their task, which is a truly formidable one.

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