UK – Immigration Rules Double in Length

It has been reported that the UK immigration rules have changed so frequently since 2010 that they have essentially doubled in length.  Successive Home Secretaries in that time have tried to push forward the Government’s attempt to promote certainty of immigration outcomes by restricting appeal rights and wording the rules more precisely.  However it would appear that the net result of all the changes has been to make the immigration rules less transparent and more confusing even to lawyers and judges.    There have even been reports of poorly drafted rules having to be amended shortly after publication.  More applicants have had to resort to lawyers for their visa applications, as it becomes harder and harder to navigate the rules independently.

A review and simplification of the UK immigration rules is overdue; not of course to make yet more changes and further complicate the situation, but to take a good hard look at what the rules have become, so that comprehensive changes can be made to help them achieve the aim of certainty without the unfortunate side effect of excessive complexity.

The former UK home secretary Amber Rudd referred the rules to the Law Commission in December 2017, and they are currently thought to be working on simplifying the rules.

The Guardian’s reporting of this story can be found here.

Germany: New Visa For Vocational Skills Considered

The German government is considering a review of its visa and immigration system in the light of the current climate of low unemployment and an ageing population, which is making it difficult for employers to fill medium skilled roles.  The current system in Germany allows people to come into the country if they have formal qualifications and a highly skilled job.  It also allows people to enter Germany to look for highly skilled job on a job-seekers visa and then secure a job in-country.  What it does not provide for is for migrants to access jobs which require vocational as opposed to academic qualifications.  Yet, this category accounts for 60 percent of available jobs in Germany.

The proposed new system is yet to be fleshed out.  What is known is that it is to take into consideration such things as a person’s qualifications, age, language skills and financial situation.  Yet, is it not to be a points based system.  The UK, Australia and Canada by contrast currently operate points based systems, allocating points to migrants based on such criteria as their formal qualifications, age, availability of a job offer, etc.  If a person scores enough points, they get the visa, and there is little or no discretion in the application of the rules.  It will be interesting to see what Germany comes up with as an alternative to the points based system favoured by others, and whether it will achieve the aim of attracting medium skilled workers to their economy while reasonably restricting migrant access to social welfare packages.