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No more tiers: points to be taken out of the Points Based System?


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Buried in the government’s official reply to a recent report of the Home Affairs committee of MPs is the following nugget:

We keep all our Immigration Rules under review, and respond to feedback from applicants and other interested parties where appropriate. For example, in January 2018 we implemented re-written rules for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) which are clearer and easier to follow, and in addition, we have announced plans to build on the success of the new visitor Rules introduced in April 2015, and simplify the Immigration Rules for work categories along similar lines. We will use plain English [and] remove the out-dated terminology of tiers and points-scoring. Our aim is to make the rules as easy as possible for applicants and their sponsors to understand and use.

This was in response to the committee having criticised the complexity of the immigration system and its labyrinthine rules. See further, almost every judge that has ever had the misfortune to grapple with immigration law, most recently Lord Justice Irwin (“the Immigration Rules are, in truth, something of a disgrace”).

The Law Commission is already working on a project to redraft the Immigration Rules so as to make them clearer. This proposed simplification of the rules for work visas specifically will, one assumes, have a similar objective: clearer language without changing the substance. I don’t know exactly how that will work if you’re talking about removing points from a System that is famously Based on Points, but any simplification must be welcome in principle.

The risk is that it does not achieve the desired result and ends up being just another change in the Rules for practitioners and applicants to wrap their long-suffering heads around. The revamped visit visa rules are, going by Colin’s verdict at the time, a somewhat dubious precedent.


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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.


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