The status of the Immigration Rules
The status of the Immigration Rules

The following Immigration guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The status of the Immigration Rules
  • The Immigration Rules—their legal status
  • Changes in the Immigration Rules pending the determination of an application for leave
  • Home Office policy documents and their role in interpreting the Rules
  • The effect of statute on the interpretation of the Immigration Rules
  • Home Office policy documents—key cases determining their status
  • The facts
  • The legal issues
  • The facts
  • The legal issues
  • more

Produced in partnership with Judith Farbey QC of Doughty Street Chambers and Deborah Revill of Lamb Building

There are various sources of immigration law, including:

  1. European legislation

  2. domestic statutes

  3. statutory instruments

  4. the Immigration Rules

  5. Home Office policies

Each of these sources has its own characteristics and status. See Practice Note: Sources of immigration law.

The status of the Immigration Rules (the Rules) and Home Office policy guidance has been the subject of litigation, particularly since the introduction of the Points-Based System (PBS). This has often been because applications under the PBS must meet stringent requirements concerning evidence that were initially often specified in Home Office guidance rather than the Rules themselves.

This Practice Note:

  1. summarises the legal status of the Rules

  2. discusses key cases concerning the legal status and validity of Home Office guidance used to supplement application criteria set out in the Rules

The Immigration Rules—their legal status

The Rules are not contained in either statute or statutory instrument. Instead, the Immigration Act 1971 (IA 1971) provides the Secretary of State with statutory power to lay before Parliament statements of the Rules or any changes to the Rules concerning the practice to be followed in the administration of IA 1971 for regulating entry and stay in the UK. This includes any rules relating to the period of entry or stay and the conditions