The Immigration Rules regulate the entry into and stay in the UK of people who are subject to immigration control. It’s crucial that the Rules be clear to understand and follow, yet they remain overly complex—since December 2018, the Immigration Rules have been 1133 pages long and from February 2010, 19 statements of changes have been published. In particular, techUK’s Migration Group has found that the complicated Rules are a hindrance to their ability to recruit through the Tier 2 visa system.
Following a year-long consultation the Law Commission has released its much needed report and recommendations exploring how the Immigration Rules can be made simpler and more accessible.
The Law Commission recommends that the following principles should underpin the redrafting of the Immigration Rules:
- Suitability for the non-expert user
- Clarity and accessibility
- Durability (a resilient structure that accommodates amendments)
- Capacity for presentation in a digital form
techUK believes that using the principles to steer improvements to the Rules would increase transparency both for applicants and caseworkers, and that this should enable quicker, consistent decision-making. The report also outlines ways to improve online presentation through guidance on making readability and user experience of the Rules a priority.
UK’s tech sector needs an immigration system that attracts and allows the best and brightest to come to the UK whether for long-term work or for short-term mobility and secondment. Tech firms can face strong competition to entice talent to the UK, and simplicity of migration systems can be a deciding factor in those decisions. If we are to continue to thrive, we need a post-Brexit immigration system that is accompanied by a comprehensive revision of the Rules, which is easy to navigate for individuals and employers and ensures public trust and confidence.
Going forward, the Rules will need to be rewritten for the introduction new Points-Based immigration system in 2021. It would be advisable for the Home Office to consider the principles proposed for the Rules ahead of the new system.
You can find the full report and list of recommendations here.