Revealed: immigration rules in the UK have more than doubled in length

Since 2010 there have been more than 5,700 changes to UK immigration rules, the Home Office has revealed. According to senior judges and lawyers, this is making it near to impossible to navigate around the visa system.

The rules have more than doubled in length to almost 375,000 words, resulting in a complex system which has been called “something of a disgrace” by Lord Justice Irwin and led to calls for urgent reform.

From the analysis, it shows that the Home Office published new sets of changes a week apart or less on seven occasions.

In light of these findings, legal experts have called for a “substantial rewrite” of the rules.

A spokesperson for the Law Commission said: “In recent years there has been a policy of making the rules more detailed and specific.

“The intention was to produce more transparent outcomes for applicants. But inevitably, this has made the rules longer and more detailed, and the risk is that the objective of transparency is defeated.

“The Home Office wants us to help put things right. We’re looking at introducing clearer, plainer language and how the rules are presented on the internet for applicants.”

A Home Office spokesperson added: “The number of individual changes to immigration rules should not be used as an indicator of the number of policy changes. Many changes to the rules involve minor corrections, such as changes to individual words.

“Changes to the immigration rules are made for a variety of reasons, including to deliver critical policies that support broader Government priorities including health and the economy, and to respond to the needs of those who use immigration services. They are laid in parliament and significant changes are communicated to stakeholders.”