It has been eight years since I first set up and began writing Free Movement. As usual, I only realised that the anniversary had passed some time after the event: the first Free Movement blog post was on 7 March 2007. I hope you will forgive me a moment of introspection. But first, as an anniversary gift for those firms who have not yet signed up for membership, I’m offering a 50% discount on group membership for the first year. See here for details.
A great deal has happened in those eight years. On a personal level I’ve gotten married, had two children and moved to Garden Court Chambers. In immigration law, we have seen three Acts of Parliament, I think, and a deluge of changes to regulations, rules and policies. In that time, the complexity of the UK’s immigration system has become a massive problem in itself.
Here on Free Movement, you can see the growth in readership for yourself in the screenshot of the blog’s stats page below and accompanying chart. The figures are for page views, with each visitor viewing on average about 2 pages; half the numbers to work out visitors, basically. The top month was December 2014 with 192,173 page views.
What I take away from these numbers, which seem bizarrely huge for a blog about a niche area of law, is that the need for clear communication and guidance on immigration law has grown massively. This is true for UK immigration lawyers and judges but is, tragically, increasingly true of the growing number of ordinary members of the public who find that immigration law interferes with their lives.
In the era of globalisation some are attempting to hold back history. Such attempts cannot succeed, ultimately, but in the short term they can have a devastating impact on the real human beings behind abstracts like the net migration target.
The major changes wrought by the Immigration Act 2014 are only just taking effect: the year ahead will be an interesting one. Families will not accept their oblivion; they will fight if they have the means and otherwise they will go underground. The work of immigration lawyers like myself will change, as it always has, but the demand for that work will only continue to increase if the politicians continue to break up families, hurt education and business and indefinitely detain those who dare to migrate.