New European Case that changes the ‘Surinder Singh’ route

As you will be aware from our post on 17/12/2013, the UK Government amended the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006. One of the most important changes is to Regulation 9 family members of British citizens that came into effect on 1st January 2014, and how this will affect the ‘Surinder Singh’ route. There is now however a new case from the Grand Chamber of the Court of the European Union that changes the ‘Surinder Singh’ route and sets important binding new guidance.

Before we explain the new case and it’s guidance it would to best to explain the ‘Surinder Singh’ route and recent changes, however if you are already familiar with these then please go straight to the last section titled O v The Netherlands (Case C-456/12) – new case that sets new guidance:

‘Surinder Singh’

The ‘Surinder Singh’ route is a way for British citizens to bring their non-EEA dependant family members to the UK using the EEA Regulations as opposed to the strict UK Immigration Rules. The British citizen needs to exercise their treaty right as either a worker or a self-employed person in another EEA member state for a period of time, they can then bring their non-EEA dependant relative to the UK under the EEA Regulations as they have exercised their right to free movement in another EEA member state.

Benefits to this route include not having to meet the very strict financial requirements under Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules that affect many applicants and their dependants.

Requirement in the amended Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006

The requirement under Regulation 9 is that the centre of the British citizen’s life has transferred to the EEA member state where s/he resided as a worker or self-employed person. Relevant factors as to whether the centre of the British citizen’s life has transferred to another EEA member state include:

  • the period of residence in the EEA State as a worker or self-employed person;
  • the location of the British citizen’s principal residence;
  • the degree of integration of the British citizen into the EEA State.

O v The Netherlands (Case C-456/12) – new case that sets new guidance

This case sets new guidance for the ‘Surinder Singh’ route and is the applicable law for all future cases under the route. The case states the following:

  • the period of residence in the EEA State is at least three months;
  • any citizen of the Union can potentially benefit, not just workers and self-employed as previously;
  • during the period of residence family life must have been ‘created or strengthened’;
  • abuse of the rule is not permitted.

This case gives the requirements for ‘Surinder Singh’ to be engaged, that the period of residence in an EEA State be at least three months, and that during the period of residence family life must have been strengthened or created.

Posted in English on Apr 14, 2014.