UK Law Commission wants streamlined immigration rules

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The UK’s legislative overseer wants to streamline immigration rules, which it says have become too complicated.

The Law Commission said in a proposal published on Monday that the rules have grown from 40 pages in 1973 to 1,133 pages today. In the last 10 years, the rules have almost quadrupled in length.

The rules have become highly prescriptive and are negatively impacting not just applicants, but also the Home Office, it said. Nicholas Paines QC, commissioner for public law, said that as the rules have become longer, more detailed, and more specific, they’ve also become more complicated and harder to follow for applicants.

“The Home Office has asked us to help put things right. Our proposals would introduce clearer language, and improve the presentation of the rules so they’re easier to understand and follow,” he said.

The Law Commission suggests looking at overlapping provisions in the rules and standardising wording where possible. It also suggests that two set dates for commencement of changes be considered each year, except in urgent cases.

Another proposal is for a uniform approach to how the rules are organised. This includes drafting style, which includes the use of definitions and section numberings.

The Law Commission said that it must be ensured that simplification is maintained moving forward, which can be done by keeping the rules in review, improving how amendments are made, and archiving earlier versions of the rules.

The agency also wants the government to look at whether technology could improve an applicant’s experience.

Consultation on the proposals will be open until 26 April.