The UK government has recently introduced a significant amount of changes to immigration rules and procedures that can influence nationals of European Economic Area.
These changes will come into force on the 1st February 2017, however, some changes are happening now.
Surrinder Singh Route
This case established a precedent for British citizens to secure UK immigration rights for their non-European spouses, who are unable to join their partners because of several changes in UK immigration law aimed at reducing net migration. However, it seems that the UK government is more focused on Brexit than on any breaching of Free Movement.
The main changes are:
- That this relocation must be “genuine”. In other words, they would consider your length of stay, degree of integration into a new society and etc.
- That this relocation to a new member state is not a means for “going around” national laws that your spouse/family member would ordinarily be subject to.
These new changes make it more likely to end up in court because of an argument as to what extent can someone be considered “genuine”.
No right of appeal for extended family members
This is an unwelcome change to family members of EEA nationals. Where people like a spouse, children and parents would be considered to be family members with an automatic right of residence (provided the EEA national in question in a qualified person). Others, who are of a more distant relationship for example: uncles, nephews, unmarried partners and etc. are considered to be extended.
This new rule basically shows that these family members will no longer have a right to appeal Home Office or decisions on their visas. However, you still have two options: 1) reapply again with further evidence; or 2) be prepared to pay a hefty price for a judicial review against the government.
Out of country appeals
Some time ago the government has introduced the possibility of out of country appeals for all non-EU nationals, perhaps a lot of people could rest more easily knowing that this would not affect EU nationals or their family members. However, the government applied new rules to some EU national application. Under these rules, non-EEA nationals who are considered to have entered into a sham marriage with an EEA national will not have the right to appeal.
Some may have known that the format of the applications was not a mandatory form but a recommendation. Nonetheless, new changes show that now it is a requirement for EEA nationals to use the forms provided by the Home Office.
Brexit still means Brexit
“Brexit still means Brexit” but what does it mean? Well, Theresa May would tell you that it means “Brexit means Brexit” and the wheel keeps turning. This phrase seems to embody the government as it appears hell busy with digging through decades of agreements and arrangements but rips apart laws and rules and leaves a big opening which will be abused for years.
However, there are no signs that the government even knows where to turn or what to do. There are rumours that the positions of EEA nationals in the UK and their families should be safe (considering the large number of Brits in the UK this would make sense). Their idea to leave the EU does not mean that they would leave the EEA. What will happen remains to be seen in March 2017, unless the government pushes it forward again as they have no notion of what they are doing.