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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW:

RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL


CONSULTATION PAPER
December 2007
SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

FOREWORD

In June 2007 we launched an initial public consultation on simplifying


immigration law. I am pleased to publish this summary of the responses to that
consultation.

I would like to thank all those who have engaged with the consultation process.
In addition to receiving 128 formal consultation responses the simplification team
met with 10 key stakeholders and gave 30 presentations and workshops to groups
of Border and Immigration Agency staff. I am very pleased with the level of
commitment and interest this exercise has generated and for the many thoughtful
comments we have received.

Those comments are helping to inform our analytical work and developing ideas.
The next step will be to publish a more substantive consultation paper.

We are determined to drive forward the transformation of the immigration system,


and I believe that simplification of our legal system is key to us achieving this.

Liam Byrne MP
Minister of State for Borders and Immigration


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

RESPONSES TO THE INTIAL CONSULTATION: A SUMMARY

QUESTION 1

‘Are the simplification principles which are set out in the previous section the right ones?’

The principles proposed in the initial consultation are attached at Annex A for reference.

Response rate - 36 respondents commented on the simplification principles.

Response - 64% of those answering this question were broadly supportive of the principles.

QUESTION 2

‘What specific problems would you hope that the Simplification Project can resolve?’

Response rate - 38 respondents answered this question.

Response - 21% of those answering this question suggested focusing on consolidation.

QUESTION 3

‘What particular issues need to be addressed in reducing reliance on concessions and the exercise of
discretion?’

Response rate - 35 respondents answered this question.

Response - Respondents raised a range of issues. These are highlighted in the detailed section on question 3.

QUESTION 4

‘Do you agree with the proposed three tier structure of primary legislation, immigration rules and
operational guidance?’

Response rate -32 respondents commented on the three tiers of the legal framework.

Response - 81% of those answering this question supported the proposed three tier framework.

QUESTION 5

‘Are there particular models for simplification, internationally or in other regulatory areas, which
have been successful and could provide a model?’

Response – 3 respondents suggested Australia.


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

QUESTION 6

‘Nationality law is largely separate from immigration law. The gateway from migration processes
to citizenship is clearly part of this project. But should the technical details of nationality law be
included in the present simplification process, or left alone? Or would it be better to consolidate
nationality law separately?’

Response rate - 28 respondents answered this question.

Response - 21% wanted it to be included in the present exercise. 58% of respondents thought nationality
law should be separately consolidated

QUESTION 7

‘Can we use the simplification process to help make clearer the distinction between temporary
residents in the UK, those seeking settlement, those settled here with no time limit on their stay and
those who go on to become British citizens? Can we make clearer their respective obligations and
rights, and how these different statuses need to be earned?’

Response rate - 33 respondents answered this question.

Response – Respondents raised a range of issues. These are highlighted in the detailed section on question 7.

QUESTION 8

‘Do you have any other comments on, or suggestions for the process?’

Response rate - 29 respondents answered this question.

Response - Respondents raised a range of issues. These are highlighted in the detailed section on question 8.


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW

BACKGROUND

On the 6th June 2007, we published the consultation paper, ‘Simplifying Immigration Law: An Initial Consultation’.
This consultation paper set out the Government’s intention to replace all existing immigration legislation with
new, consistent and coherent immigration legislation.

The Immigration Act 1971 is the current foundation of the immigration system. That Act was clearly passed
in a very different world.

The UK Borders Act 2007 is the tenth to be overlaid on to the 1971 Act. There are also the Immigration
Rules made under the 1971 Act; a range of secondary legislation – with over thirty statutory instruments
currently in force; and a range of guidance and instructions. All of these must be applied consistently with the
Human Rights Act, equality legislation, European Union law and other relevant international instruments.

The current complexity of immigration law reduces the efficiency of our decision-making processes, resulting
in an increased risk of delay and of mistakes. It can make it difficult for applicants to understand how they
can come to or stay in the UK legitimately – or recognise quickly that they do not qualify to do so. It increases
the likelihood of protracted legal challenge of refusals, making enforcement more difficult. And it contributes
to a lack of public confidence in the overall effectiveness of the immigration system.

Simplification of immigration law is intended to enable the wider development and transformation of the
Border and Immigration Agency, and assist in the achievement of our strategic objectives. The focus of the
consultation paper was on simplification of the legal framework, rather than immigration policy or operations.

CONSULTATION EXERCISE

The initial consultation paper set out the case for simplification and introduced the principles on which we
proposed to base our ongoing work. It contained no commitments to any specific changes to the law, and was
deliberately intended to be high level and open.

The initial consultation paper was specifically distributed to around 65 relevant organisations. It was also made
available on the Border and Immigration Agency’s website.

The consultation exercise was fully open to Border and Immigration Agency staff, and all staff were actively
encouraged to respond, in the context of continuing internal communication and engagement.

The formal consultation exercise ran for 12 weeks from the 6th June to the 29th August 2007.

CONSULTATION RESPONSES
Breakdown of respondents
128 formal responses to the consultation paper were
sent to the project by post or email.
Individuals
Staff
23%
• 58 responses were submitted by Border and 45%
Immigration Agency staff.

• 41 responses were submitted by external


Organisations
organisations.
32%
• 29 responses were submitted by individual members
of the public.


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

Not all of those submitting formal consultation responses answered the questions set out in the consultation
paper. Some made general enquiries or comments about immigration matters, some wanted to register their
interest in this work (some of these stated that they would comment further once simplification proposals
had been drafted), others chose to comment on specific issues (for details of specific issues raised please see
Annex B).

40 respondents directly answered all or some of Breakdown of those answering the


the questions listed in the consultation paper. The consultation questions
following analysis has focused on the answers given
by these 40 respondents.
Individuals
Organisations
Out of the 40 respondents that answered all or some 20%
80%
of the questions:

• 8 were individual members of the public and

• 32 were external organisations.

OTHER STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

In addition to the formal consultation exercise, meetings were held to discuss simplification in more detail
with 10 external stakeholder organisations. These meetings were very useful in providing clarification on
points of stakeholder concern.

There was also a strong focus on gathering suggestions from operational staff within the Border and
Immigration Agency who are familiar with the current legal framework. 30 presentations and workshops were
arranged for groups of Border and Immigration Agency staff.

These presentations and workshops were organised separately to the main consultation exercise, as an
additional source of information for the project team. During presentations and workshops staff were
encouraged to think about specific problems they currently faced with the legal system and their ideas for
simplification. These sessions enabled both open discussion and a focus on specific simplification ideas. All
ideas were encouraged in order to facilitate creative thinking and facilitate the generation of further ideas.

The suggestions raised at these events are summarised in Annex C. These sessions were very productive.
They aided the simplification team in understanding the perspective of Border and Immigration Agency staff
across the business and their concerns. They also helped in identifying staff with particular experience and
expertise.

NEXT STEPS – DEVELOPING PROPOSALS FOR SIMPLIFICATION

Detailed analytical work is now underway to examine the existing law and the options for change. The views
and ideas summarised in this document will make an important contribution to that process. The next step will
be to consult on more specific simplification proposals. It remains the Government’s intention to be ready, to
introduce new legislation in 2008-09 following pre-legislative scrutiny of a draft Bill.


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

ANALYSIS OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES

QUESTION ONE – SIMPLIFICATION PRINCIPLES

The first question asked respondents to consider whether the proposed simplification principles were correct.
64% of those answering this question were broadly supportive of the principles.

“The simplification principles which are set out in


Question 1
the consultation document are definitely the right
ones. The strategic objectives of the new managed
migration system will only be fulfilled if the No
underlying structures are put in place. The objective Yes
36%
is correct – to have clear, comprehensive law which 64%
mirrors the new system. It is essential that everyone
from asylum seeker to investor, understands the
legal framework and basis for decision making. The
principles in the consultation paper address all the
difficulties with the current system”
(Member of the International Bar Association –
July 2007)

Respondents who broadly supported the principles in the consultation also said that:

• the principles should lead to minimisation or sensible use of concessions and discretion, rather than their elimination

• the descriptions of the principles should be expanded to illustrate how these principles could be applied to
proposed simplification ideas to assess their suitability

• some of the principles seemed less relevant to asylum cases

• there was a need to build individual risk assessment into immigration decision making, to be considered in
conjunction with codified requirements.

36% of those answering this question did not support the principles. The majority of the respondents who
did not support the principles were still clearly supportive of the need for simplification. Some of these
respondents suggested additional or alternative principles.

Respondents who did not support the principles in the consultation said that:

• it would be more sensible and manageable to consolidate legislation first and then consult extensively on
simplification over a lengthy period of time

• there were too many principles to be effective

• the principles were too vague

• some of the principles appeared to be inconsistent with each other (i.e. clarity and predictability could
actually require legislation and rules to be longer and more complex, and a very user friendly system might
not be the most efficient system)

• the principles were too focused on administrative efficiency

• the complexity of primary legislation was not a real problem where the immigration rules were clear and consistent.


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

The principles that respondents were most likely to object to were:

• Maximise clarity and predictability for applicants and sponsors, reducing the need to rely on
advisers to navigate the system - a number of respondents objected to the possibility of reducing the
need to rely on advisers. Some emphasised representation as a fundamental right. Some thought legal aid
should be strengthened. One respondent recognised that there were issues with immigration advisers and
suggested tightening control of who could be an adviser (through a requirement to re-sit legal exams on a
regular basis), as an alternative to reducing the need for advisers.

• Maximise public confidence in a comprehensible system - a number of respondents felt public


confidence was either not essential or not desirable. Some commented on the impact of racial prejudice and
misinformation on levels of public confidence. Others felt the government had a responsibility actively to
educate the public and the media about immigration. Some thought there should be a specific reference to
migrants’ confidence in a fair and just system.

• Minimise reliance on concessions outside the normal rules - many respondents emphasised the need
to use concessions to handle urgent situations, or as a way of testing a new policy before introducing it.
Some respondents felt that the ability to use concessions gave necessary flexibility to the immigration
system.

• Minimise the need for decision-makers to exercise discretion - many respondents commented on
the need to use discretion to ensure decisions were proportional and fair. Some respondents commented
specifically about the need to use discretion to ensure appropriate and fair handling of children’s cases.

• Minimise gaps in powers to resolve cases fairly, speedily and effectively - many respondents felt there
were already a wide range of immigration powers.

A number of respondents (both those in support and not in support of the principles proposed) suggested
additional principles. The most popular suggestions were:

• Fairness (25% of those answering this question)

• Compliance with international obligations on asylum and human rights (22% of those answering this
question)

• Migrants’ rights (19% of those answering this question)

• High quality decision making (14% of those answering this question)

• Protection for the vulnerable (11% of those answering this question)

• Accountability (11% of those answering this question)


Other suggestions included:

• Equality • Sensitivity • Accessibility

• Effectiveness • Confidentiality • Proportionality

• Flexibility • Firmness • Non-discrimination

• Justice • UK security • Non-refoulement.


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

QUESTION TWO

The second question asked respondents to suggest specific problems that simplification could resolve. The
most common suggestion was to focus on consolidation. 21% of those answering this question suggested
this.

“The primary problem bedevilling immigration law that this project should resolve is the need for
consolidation”
(Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association – August 2007)

This view was echoed by Border and Immigration Agency staff.

Some respondents highlighted issues raised in the simplification principles as problems to be addressed. These
have not been repeated here. Other common suggestions included the following.

• Join up or reduce conflict with other legislation i.e. health, housing, employment, childcare, devolved laws
(13% of those answering this question)

• Improve access to immigration rules and guidance on an improved website (13% of those answering this
question)

• Reduce waiting times (11% of those answering this question)

• Improve data sharing and join up immigration processes with social services, benefits agency, job centres etc
(11% of those answering this question)

• Address gender and age equality issues (8% of those answering this question)

• Review asylum support arrangements (8% of those answering this question)

• Improve customer contact and the quality of information and feedback provided to applicants during an
application (5% of those answering this question)

• Review the use and management of detention especially for children, the mentally ill, and pregnant women
(5% of those answering this question)

Other suggestions included:

• Ensure staff follow legislation in practice

• Do not allow changes to the law to be applied retrospectively

• Review the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme

• Improve enforcement

• Review bail arrangements

• Distinguish between European Economic Area (EEA), asylum seekers and skilled workers

• Improve public perception of migrants


SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

• Offer a legal route into the UK to seek asylum

• Grant temporary leave to asylum seekers who cannot be removed

• Consider and safeguard the employment rights of migrants

• Improve the quality of decision making

• Restore migrants’ appeal rights.

QUESTION THREE

The third question asked respondents about issues relating to reducing reliance on concessions and
discretions. Responses included the following.

• Recognition of the level of skill needed to exercise discretion appropriately.

• Specific concern about the lack of discretion exercised to ensure fair and proportional decisions by staff in
UK Visas.

• Recognition that there will always be a need to have flexibility to deal with complex cases, emergency situations in
specific countries and those who fall outside the Immigration Rules through no fault of their own.

• The need to use discretion and concessions to ensure human rights are protected.

• The need for discretion and concessions in childrens cases.

• The need to consider equality related issues and the realities of migrants’ circumstances in the drafting of the
legislation in order to reduce reliance on discretion.

• The need for Border and Immigration Agency staff to increase their client understanding, especially concerning
migrants’ ability to produce the required evidence, differences in their education, and other cultural differences.

• The suggestion that the Border and Immigration Agency publishes guidance on how and when discretion
should be exercised and then monitors that the use of discretion is in line with guidance.

• The fact that any reduction in discretion and concessions would lead to an increase in Judicial Review,
ultimately lowering public confidence.

• The need for Border and Immigration Agency staff to be able to use discretion to put right their mistakes.

• The feeling that shorter and sharper legislation and rules would inevitably lead to more discretion and
concessions and that minimising discretion and concessions was only possible through long and complex
legislation and rules.

• An explanation of the difficulties that the lack of predictability and transparency caused by use of discretion
and concessions, gave employers.

• An explanation of problems caused by the fact that details of concessions are not always published and
archived.

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

• A suggestion that it might be better to publish details of all concessions and ensure migrants are informed
of these, rather than take them away.

• The suggestion that use of discretion should be limited so that it could only be used in the interests of the migrant.

“We do not accept that the reduction in the use of discretion and concessions is necessarily a positive or
negative objective. Whilst both ‘discretion’ and ‘concessions’ can operate to the detriment of migrants,
they also have the propensity to work to their advantage. The latter have, as a matter of fact, in more
recent times operated in a way that has proved to be beneficial to migrants. The extra flexibility afforded
by ‘concessions’ has enabled the Home Office to respond more effectively to particular difficulties such as
asylum backlogs, and humanitarian emergencies.”
(An organisation August 2007)

“It ought to be a primary aim of a simplification project to reduce reliance on policies outside the
Rules to a minimum. We accept of course that the use of policies may be necessary to deal with
unexpected or temporary situations. But it ought to be limited to those situations: the rules regulating
individual cases would be considerably more accessible if policies could have a life of (say) no more
than three months: if they were not incorporated into Immigration Rules within that time they would
lapse unless repeated.”
(President and Deputy President of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal – August 2007)

“The need for the Immigration Rules to be supplemented by numerous published and quite a few
unpublished concessions has never been acceptable. I am very much in favour of a set of Rules that
reduce the need for the exercise of discretion.”
(Immigration Judge, August 2007)

Many Border and Immigration Agency staff expressed strong views that discretion was necessary to operate
an effective service.

Overall staff recognised the issues that use of discretion presented in terms of predictability and transparency.
In response to these issues staff suggested:

• the creation of published guidance on using discretion

• improved and more accessible guidance more generally

• improved and more extensive staff training

• monitoring the use of discretion

Staff suggested that discretion should specifically consider:

• the potential harm posed to the UK by the applicant

• potential benefits to the UK of any decision

• likely work generation for the Border and Immigration Agency

• any compassionate circumstances

• whether the decision would result in humane and fair treatment of the applicant and their family.

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

Staff referred particularly to the use of discretion in handling temporary admission, visitors in transit and
children’s cases.

Staff were generally less concerned about the proposed reduction in concessions outside of the Immigration
Rules. Some staff felt that if the Immigration Rules could be changed more quickly when needed, the need for
concessions would be avoided.

QUESTION FOUR

The fourth question asked respondents whether they agreed with the proposed three tier structure of the
legal framework. 81% of those answering this question supported the proposed three tier framework. 19% of
those responding expressed concerns with the proposed three tiers.

The most common comment was that: Question 4


• Guidance should not be reduced. All guidance
should be published and it should be made more No
accessible (i.e. be written in practical language and Yes
19%
formats - flow charts, frequently asked questions 81%
etc) and it should be kept up to date. (34% of
respondents answering this question)

Respondents also said that:

• Some respondents were concerned about the level


of Parliamentary control or scrutiny over changes to the Immigration Rules.

• Some respondents were unsure why Statutory Instruments were not included more explicitly in the proposed legal
framework. Some of these respondents also felt that statutory instruments in other areas of the law which impact
on immigration casework should also be in scope. Some respondents suggested that a 4 tier framework may be
more appropriate.

- Primary legislation

- Statutory instruments

- Immigration Rules

- Guidance.

• Changes to the Immigration Rules and resulting guidance should be subject to stakeholder consultation,
Impact Assessment, Equality Impact Assessment and compatibility testing with European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR) etc.

Respondents supporting the proposed framework also said that:

• Practitioners should be involved in the development of all aspects of the framework (legislation, rules and
guidance).

• Although the proposed legal framework is correct it may be too ambitious to achieve.

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

• Staff should be trained so they are clear what the different layers of the legal framework are, and what they mean.

• The success of the legal framework should be monitored and evaluated.

• All rules changes in the future should be introduced in a consolidated form.

Respondents who had raised concerns with the proposed framework also said that:

• Caselaw should feature in the legal framework.

• There should be no ability to apply Immigration Rules with retrospective effect.

• Transitional provisions should be clear.

• A standing committee of practitioners should be set up to suggest changes to legislation and practice.

“Eaves welcomes the proposal for a single statue embodying relevant provisions. It is imperative that
any such legislation recognises the need to cater for the individual circumstances of immigrants.
This necessity is best served by legislative principles of a constitutional nature, as opposed to
prescriptive and restrictive statutory requirements.”
(Eaves Housing for Women – August 2007)

QUESTION FIVE

The fifth question asked respondents to identify successful models of simplification. Given the very small
number of respondents answering this question the numbers of respondents making a suggestion have been
highlighted here, rather than a percentage of respondents answering the question.

• The Australian immigration system - 3 respondents suggested Australia, 1 respondent cautioned that although
Australia has a clear points based system, their decision making process was unclear and their timescales variable.

• The Canadian immigration system – 2 respondents.

• EEA immigration regulations – 2 respondents.

• The United States immigration system – 1 respondent.

• The Swedish immigration system – 1 respondent.

• The Single Equality Bill – 1 respondent.

• The introduction of the Management of Police Information – 1 respondent.

• The International Labour Organisation’s framework on principles and guidelines for regulation of migrants
– 1 respondent.

• European Council Directive 2004/38/EC – 1 respondent.

• British Overseas Territories Act 2002– 1 respondent.

• The Mines and Quarries Act 1954– 1 respondent.

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QUESTION SIX

The sixth question asked respondents whether nationality law should be included in simplification, left alone
or consolidated separately.

• 21% of respondents supported the inclusion of nationality law in simplification.

• 21% of respondents thought nationality law should be left alone.

• 58% of respondents thought nationality law should be separately consolidated (with a number of these
respondents suggesting that nationality law should be separately simplified in addition to consolidation).

Other comments on this question included: Question 6


• remarks about the recent increase in fees for Consolidate Leave it in
citizenship separately simplification
58% 21%
• the need for clear rules and guidance to support nationality
law that clearly cross reference immigration rules and
Leave it
guidance alone
21%
• the suggestion that recognised refugees applying for
settlement and then citizenship should be excluded
from any language and knowledge of the UK
requirements.

QUESTION SEVEN

The seventh question asked respondents their views on clarifying the distinction between temporary residents in
the UK, those seeking settlement, those who are settled and those who become British Citizens. The question also
referred to clarifying migrants’ obligations and rights. This question referred to the concept of ‘earning’ statuses.

Comments on this question included:

• The need for clear and transparent immigration statuses for migrants, UK authorities and employers.

• The need to increase clarity through restructuring the Immigration Rules and providing a roadmap to
citizenship for each category.

• General support for greater clarity, coupled with concern around the idea of ‘earning’ citizenship.

• Concern that the concept of ‘earning’ rights in the UK may discourage valuable applicants.

• The suggested exclusion of the need to earn rights in the UK for those seeking asylum.

• A reminder of international obligations and migrants human rights.

• The need to improve migrant workers’ employment rights.

• Concern that earning citizenship is oppressive, based on public fear, and will be damaging to social cohesion.

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

• The need for greater public information and management of the public perception of migrants.

• The suggestion that different tax systems for migrants would be more effective.

• Concern that earned citizenship concerns a change of policy rather than a simplification of law, and is not in
keeping with simplification principles.

• Concern that earning citizenship contradicts international practice and EU policy.

“I find it difficult to argue that someone may be given indefinite leave to remain in the UK and live
here a long time but is then deemed unsuitable for citizenship.”
(An individual – August 2007)

“If status is to be ‘earned’, differential tax seems to be the simplest method. Temporary residents
could pay 10p in the pound more than British citizens. Those who are settled but choose not to
become citizens could pay 5p more in the pound than British citizens.”
(Visa London – June 2007)

QUESTION EIGHT

The eighth question asked for any other comments or suggestions. Comments included:

• There is a real need to link immigration legislation with other areas of legislation like health, education,
employment.

• All aspects of immigration law should be reviewed to ensure compatibility with human rights, particularly
section 55 [of the 2002 Act] and section 9 [of the 2004 Act].

• All aspects of immigration law should be reviewed and the impact on cohesion and integration assessed.

• Public perception on migrants must be challenged.

Other comments included the following:

• Concern about the introduction of the Points Based System, with some respondents feeling their concerns
raised in previous consultations had been ignored.

• The suggestion that police registration was antiquated and should be reviewed.

• The suggestion that the UK should comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, without
reservation.

• The suggestion that the UK should adopt the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights
of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

• The suggestion that international conventions that the UK has signed up to should be built into UK law.

• The suggestion that asylum support should be fundamentally reviewed, especially section 4 support.

• Concern about the level of fees.

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

• The suggestion that stakeholder involvement and consultation in the legal framework should increase.

• Concern about any potential outsourcing of decision making.

• The suggestion that the system needs to allow staff to put right mistakes.

• The suggestion that the principles should be elaborated further in the next consultation.

• Concern that the remit of the simplification project should be clarified and respected by Government when
considering further immigration reforms.

• The suggestion that it would be better to initially focus on consolidation and then approach simplification.

• The suggestion that the legal aid impact should specifically be included as part of the Impact Assessment.

• The suggestion that a consultation on improving immigration processes should be issued.

• Concern that the ideas of earned citizenship could create a sub class and undermine social cohesion.

• Concern regarding the ability to simplify asylum, especially with the introduction of the Common European
Asylum System.

• Concern that the language used by Government could feed into public misconceptions and fears.

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Annex A
SIMPLIFICATION PRINCIPLES

The key principles which we believe should underpin the simplification process are that it should maximise:

• transparency, for staff within the Border and Immigration Agency, for applicants, for other stakeholders and
for the wider public

• efficiency, with a system friendly to all its users, within which it is quicker and easier to make the most
appropriate decision

• clarity and predictability for applicants and sponsors, reducing the need to rely on advisers to navigate the
system

• plain English, avoiding technical jargon wherever possible

• public confidence in a comprehensible system

and that it should minimise:

• the need for further legislation

• reliance on concessions outside the normal rules

• the need for decision-makers to exercise discretion

• inconsistencies between different parts of the system

• duplication, including parallel provisions in different areas for broadly comparable circumstances

• gaps in powers to resolve cases fairly, speedily and effectively.

Our starting assumption is that these key principles should underpin all the work of the Border and
Immigration Agency, focusing its systems and processes around its three functions:

• Firstly, receiving applications from those who want to come to or stay in the UK.

• Secondly, deciding those applications.

• Thirdly, implementing those decisions.

A further starting assumption is that we will in the future continue to require a broadly three tier framework:

• essential overarching provision set out in a single focused piece of primary legislation

• more flexibility below that level with shorter, sharper and consistent immigration rules, which are capable of
quick adjustment in response to changing circumstances, alongside any other necessary secondary legislation

• shorter, sharper and consistent operational guidance, but only where that is necessary.

These principles and assumptions will be developed and refined as the project progresses. But from now on
we will test new policy proposals against them to ensure that necessary shorter term changes are as consistent
as possible with our longer term objectives.

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Annex B
SUMMARY OF COMMON THEMES RAISED IN CONSULTATION
RESPONSES BY OTHER RESPONDENTS

We received a large number of suggestions for simplification from internal and external stakeholders that
touched on a wide range of subject areas. This annex seeks to summarise some of the common, broad themes.

Comments from respondents who answered the specific questions in the consultation paper fed into the main
document rather than this Annex.

RESPONSES FROM EXTERNAL ORGANISATIONS

General points made by external stakeholders indicated the need for simplification to benefit all parties, not
just the Agency, and the need for our systems and Rules to be applied fairly and consistently. Concern was also
raised regarding the proposed timescales for simplification.

RESPONSES FROM INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

General concern was expressed at the numbers of failed asylum seekers who remained in the UK but were
not able to contribute to the country.

The impact of retrospective changes to the immigration rules in relation to the Highly Skilled Migrant
Programme was raised.

Comments were made on marriage applications. There was concern about abuse of the marriage system to
gain entry to the UK. There was also concern that the requirements for marriage applications were not flexible
enough to recognise genuine marriages which did not meet all the requirements of the Rules.

RESPONSES FROM BORDER AND IMMIGRATION AGENCY STAFF

Specifically under the subject area of asylum, we received many suggestions from staff on the need to review
the asylum support system (especially section 4 support). Staff also suggested we strengthen our powers to
investigate and prosecute abuse of asylum support. The varying age-assessment information provided to the
Agency was also highlighted as an area that is in need of improvement.

On appeals, internal comments indicate that the system for Judicial Reviews is complicated and that we should
look to prevent applicants from frustrating their removal by lodging Judicial Reviews that lack merit. A further
point was made that applicants should have one right of appeal only.

On border control, internal staff identified the Common Travel Area and Carriers Liability and Civil Penalties
as complex areas, and in need of simplification. Many staff working at the border felt that it was important
that they could examine all passengers, establish that they were credible, and deny entry to those who were not.

On enforcement, suggestions from internal staff were made to extend the Agency’s powers of arrest; tighten
up on abuse of student working conditions, take measures on those who employ illegal workers, and take
measures against individuals who do not comply with their reporting instructions.

On managed migration it was suggested that the length of visitors’ leave should be reduced; and the level of
evidence that is acceptable to support a domestic violence application should be clarified.

The sharing of and access to data between Government departments was also raised as a problem area, in
need of simplification.

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

Annex C
SUMMARY OF ISSUES RAISED BY STAFF IN WORKSHOPS/
PRESENTATIONS

The simplification team has carried out over 30 workshops and presentations with colleagues across the
Agency. These workshops have generated useful suggestions for simplification, a summary of the most
common points are set out below

GENERAL POINTS

Suggestions from internal staff indicate a need for existing legislation to be consolidated, and legislation, rules
and guidance to be user-friendly and accessible. On structure, colleagues suggested separating legislation into
two areas for immigration and asylum, and said it would be helpful to include all legal requirements from other
agencies (such as in regards to identity management, common travel area), as well as the details of the Human
Rights Act and Refugee Convention within one act.

Some specific suggestions were made on the structure of guidance and Rules such as including codes of
practice for staff and highlighting appeal rights for applicants.

Other comments indicated a need for restricting the number of simultaneous applications that individuals can
make and making the amount of allowed absence a migrant can have from the UK consistent across all case
types (and nationality). Staff also suggested ensuring that the different business areas of Enforcement and
Compliance, Managed Migration and Borders should all have the ability to treat the same case in the same way.

On engaging with stakeholders, we received helpful comments on particular departments and stakeholders with
whom to engage. Some interesting points were also made on ways to test the draft legislation. There was a lot
of interest in how simplification would be implemented, and training was highlighted as an essential part of this.

SPECIFIC AREAS OF LAW

Asylum - Comments indicate that the Agency should look to simplify the different types of asylum support,
review section 55 (restricted access to asylum support), and not ask applicants to leave their accommodation
after they are refused until they are actually removed from the UK (as this would make it easier to maintain
contact with the applicant).

Appeals - Feedback suggests that we look to introduce one clear time limit for submitting an appeal. There
were suggestions that the whole appeals process needs simplifying.

Managed Migration - Comments indicate a need for a simplified set of immigration categories and that
switching between various managed migration statuses should be reviewed.

It was also suggested that leave should no longer be granted on the basis of long residence.

Student rules and policy was raised and specifically clarification over ‘daytime’ study and ‘part-time’ working.

It was suggested that migrants should be required to tell us about changes of address, employer, course or
change of purpose in being in the UK immediately, not at their next application.

Borders & Visas - Suggestions pointed to a need to clarify the powers of Immigration Officers (including
overseas and at sea), Entry Clearance Officers, Entry Clearance Managers (including to overturn ECO
decisions) and Airline Liaison Officers (including to cancel visas, amend child visit visas, and issue an
exclusion order). It was also suggested that we expand the Airline Liaison Officers Network.

Comments indicated the need to simplify and clarify exemptions from control. Colleagues also identified that
responsibilities and requirements in relation to charges to carriers and the charges we can impose on small

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SIMPLIFYING IMMIGRATION LAW: RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PAPER

ports and airports to provide immigration control (for provision of desks, interview space etc) need to be
simplified.

The need to be able to be examine passengers to verify their right to enter the UK should apply to everyone,
and entry should be able to be refused to any one who was not credible. Credibility should be able to be
considered at any point. Clarification on the difference between cancelling and revoking leave was requested.

The introduction of a requirement to declare any criminal convictions in the UK or overseas on arrival in the
UK was suggested.

Enforcement and Compliance – There were suggestions that in-country enforcement powers more closely
mirror those at ports.

It was commonly felt that the rules and processes for establishing someone was an illegal entrant were
complex, and it was suggested that one category of unlawful presence would be helpful.

Powers on taking and seizing documents connected to organised crime were raised, as were the powers to
enter and search premises, powers of arrest, and the powers to prosecute those in possession of false papers
or evidence and those who fail to comply with requests to produce evidence or documents were raised.

Suggestions were made on placing new types of conditions and restrictions on those who are high-risk but
who we are not able to detain.

Appropriate reporting conditions and contact management regimes should also be clarified.

It was suggested that we consider strengthening the existing offence of knowingly entering the UK in breach
of a deportation order.

On removals, there were a number of suggestions that it would be helpful to have one avenue to remove
someone from the UK and a simplified and quicker removals process. A further suggestion was made around
recovery of costs from persons given money to depart from the UK voluntarily but who later re-enter.

Cross-cutting - The issue of data-sharing was raised, and in particular the need for information to be shared
and accessed better between Government departments.

There was support for consolidating all fingerprinting powers, and a suggestion was made to enforce
fingerprint checks with sanctions.

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© Crown copyright December 2007