New Immigration Rules have just been laid in Statement of Changes CM 7944. The main change is that the English language requirement for spouses and partners has been introduced, as expected. It takes effect for new applications made on or after 29 November 2010. Those with applications in before that date will have their cases decided under the old rules.
However, a few rather dastardly changes have also been introduced. These only affect small numbers of refugees but, like the extraordinarily grudging changes to the right to work following ZO (Somalia)  UKSC 36, do show that the Secretary of State is not a good loser.
The rules have been altered so that a refugee who has become a British citizen cannot benefit from refugee family reunion rules. The Supreme Court decision in ZN (Afghanistan)  UKSC 21 has been reversed, albeit only for new applications on or after 22 October 2010.
Further, the rules have been adjusted so that a person who entered the UK as the family member of a refugee and has themselves been recognised as a refugee for example through the issuing of a Refugee Convention travel document, also cannot benefit from the refugee family reunion rules. The appeal to the Court of Appeal in MS (Somalia) is due to be heard with a linked case, KI, in a week’s time on exactly this issue. That issue has now been put beyond doubt for applications made on or after 22 October 2010. The outcome in MS and KI will only effect those with applications and appeals already in the pipeline by then.
The numbers of refugees benefitting from these provisions must have been very small. One wonders why the Government is so keen to marginalise these people even more and deprive them of the comfort of being joined by their pre-existing spouses or children. It looks plain nasty to me.