On 13th June 2012 the Government published changes to the Immigration Rules (HC194). Some of the changes took effect on 9th July 2012 and others are to take effect on 1st October 2012.
The changes are wide ranging.
They affect family migration and there are particularly important changes as to how the UK Border Agency intends to deal with Article 8 (private and family life) claims, deportation cases and cases involving children. There are significant changes to long residence applications under the Rules and other changes affect general grounds for refusal and over stayers. Many of these changes are highly complex, involving difficult and lengthy cross referencing.
The Government made statements to suggest that the changes will in a great majority of changes set thresholds which will determine how Article 8 and the best interests of children will apply in immigration cases. It is clear that the Government and the UK Border Agency will now apply a very restrictive approach to such cases. There are important and complex transitional provisions which generally protect those who are already in the UK with leave on the basis of the family relationship.
On 18th July 2012 the Supreme Court ruled in R (Alvi) -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department  that requirements of Immigration Rules cannot be contained in guidance that is changed from time to time without being formally put before Parliament by the publication of changes to the Immigration Rules in the former way that is set out in the Immigration Act 1971. On 19th July 2012 in response to these, the Government published further, lengthy changes to the Immigration Rules incorporating several more requirements relating to the changes introduced on 9th July 2012.