On 3 December 2013, the UK government adopted the Immigration (European Economic Area) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2013 which amend Regulation 9 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations. The new rules take effect on 1 January 2014 and affect use of the Surinder Singh route by a British citizen seeking to be reunited with a non-EEA family member. Here, we will explore the Surinder Singh visa route and explain what changes the UK government has now made.
Surinder Singh Visa Route for Family Members of British Citizens
The Surinder Singh visa route is a way for dual nationals and UK citizens to secure UK immigration rights for their overseas family members, without the need to meet the requirements of visa restrictions. In the case of British citizens, it involves them living and working elsewhere in the EEA and the asserting the rights associated with EEA citizenship and free movement to gain access to the UK.
In effect it means that by exercising your rights under European freedom of movement, your status as a European citizen takes priority over your status as a UK citizen and when you return to the UK after living and working in an EEA for 3 months, you are allowed to bring your non-EEA spouse without having to meet the £18,600 minimum earnings requirement which applies to Britons.
Changes for Immigration Rules Affecting Surinder Singh Visa Applicants
The Regulations affecting use of the Surinder Singh route by a British citizen seeking to be reunited with a non-EEA family member now read:
‘Paragraph 5 of the Schedule replaces the existing regulation 9 of the 2006 Regulations to require a British citizen to have “transferred the centre of his or her life” to another member State in order to acquire a right of residence in the UK for his or her non-EEA family member seeking a right to reside in the UK upon their return. Factors relevant to whether the centre of a person’s life has been transferred to another member State include the period of residence in that member State, the location of that person’s principal residence, and the degree of integration. These changes are to ensure that a British citizen engages in genuine and effective use of the rights conferred by Directive 2004/38/EC before a right to reside in the United Kingdom is conferred on a non-EEA family member.’
What the Changes Mean for Surinder Singh Visa Applicants
It is not yet fully clear what the implications of this change will be for British people seeking to use the route in order to be reunited with a non-EEA family member but it does signal that the route has been made difficult for migrants.
Surinder Singh migrants will be required to demonstrate that the British citizen sponsor had “transferred the centre of his or her life” to another EEA country before they could benefit from free movement rights.
Successful Surinder Singh Visa Applications
If you are interested in applying under this route, our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a visa application. From our experience, we have found that the Home Office are very strict when deciding applications under this route so if you wish to apply, contact us to arrange a consultation in which we will guide you through the process.