Law Commission report on Immigration Rules

14 January 2020

The Law Commission has published its report on reforming the Immigration Rules (not immigration policy). UKCISA and other organisations in the education sector made substantial contributions to the consultation and attended a meeting with the Law Commission.

We very much welcome these recommendations, which can be read in summary and in full on the Law Commission's site. Our members and students may find the following proposals of particular interest. Now it's for the Home Office to respond and take action, and for us to support them in this huge and important endeavour.

Improve the accessibility and transparency of the Rules 

"Simplifying supporting guidance alongside the Rules, with the aim of reducing guidance on any topic into a single document for both caseworkers and applicants, and ensuring that there is coordinated oversight of the content of guidance

Making changes to the online version of the Rules – such as are introducing hyperlinks –  to make navigation of the Rules easier, and to connect the Rules, guidance and application forms into one streamlined system which is regularly tested with users"


"A more flexible approach to the evidence required from applicants, by providing a non-exhaustive list of examples and asking for any other document which meets the requirement in the Rules

A made-to-measure approach for different routes of applications. For example, categories such as international students may be better suited to a clear evidential list whereas family members may have more complex histories and be less likely to be able to provide standard documentation to prove their circumstances

More interactive decision making by caseworkers , allowing them to address concerns or request additional evidence before making a decision"

Administration of the Rules 

"The creation of an informal advisory committee to review the drafting of the Immigration Rules in line with the principles that we recommend in this Report and to review the interaction between the Rules and guidance

Ensuring that changes to the Rules are easy to understand for applicants and case workers

Limiting the number of updates to the Rules to twice a year, in April and October to match the dates that many statutory instruments come into force.

A structured process for receiving and responding to user feedback to speed up rectification of problems identified in the Immigration Rules, and to ensure lessons are shared internally to improve future processes"