Below is the text of the statement made by Kevin Foster, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the House of Commons on 25 March 2020.
This Government are committed to creating a firm and fair immigration system that prioritises the skills people have to offer, not where their passport comes from, and restores public trust by ensuring the immigration system truly works for this country.
The immigration rules form one of the foundations of our immigration system. So I am pleased today to publish our response to the Law Commission’s report and recommendations on simplifying the immigration rules. I am extremely grateful to the Law Commission for their detailed and constructive work.
The first recommendation from the Law Commission is we should overhaul the immigration rules, consolidating and streamlining, based on the principles it has identified. I am pleased to announce we accept this recommendation. Our aim is to complete this overhaul by January 2021.
Simplified rules will be at the heart of Britain’s new, global points-based immigration system.
For far too long, users have struggled to understand the confusing and complex immigration rules. They create barriers for employers who want to bring skilled workers to the UK; to colleges who want to encourage international students to come to the UK, and to the brightest and best migrants from around the world who want to make a contribution to the UK.
We will cut through the complexity and make the rules clear, consistent and accessible, to encourage those who have the skills or talent to benefit the UK, and to crack down on illegal migration and remove those who abuse our hospitality by committing criminal offences.
In line with the Law Commission’s recommendations, I have already established a Simplification of the rules review committee to look at the drafting and structure of the rules. The committee will ensure the simplification principles put in place now continue to apply in future, while providing ongoing support to continuously improve and adapt the rules in our changing world.
The Law Commission made 41 recommendations for change. We accept 24 of the recommendations, and partially accept the other 17 recommendations. Where we have not fully accepted a recommendation that does not mean we disagree with the ambition behind the recommendations; it generally means we want to explore how it can be delivered in practice.
Simplification of the immigration rules, the global points-based immigration system, and the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill which will end free movement, will deliver the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in a generation.
The Government’s response has been published on gov.uk and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-the-immigration-rules-a-response.
A copy of the response will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.