The Surinder Singh case
Mr Singh, who was Indian citizen, lived and worked in Germany with his British wife until they returned to the UK. They divorced and Mr Singh was told he had to leave the UK as he no longer had leave to remain. He appealed and the EU Court of Justice in case C-370/90
, determined that Mr Singh had a right under EU law to reside in the UK because he had been a family member of an EU citizen (his wife) citizen who had exercised her right to free movement by working in another EU country.
The Court’s ruling gives - regardless of their own nationality - right of residence to the spouses, unmarried partners and children of an EU citizen who has worked in another Member State, the right of residence in the home country of that EU citizen when they return. Regulation 9 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006
(see below) was amended on 1st January 2014.
So this case and the amended regulations mean that a British citizen, who wouldn’t normally be able to confer EU rights onto their family in this way, can do so by spending some time* working in another EU country and moving their “centre of interest**” to that country.
This right could then extend to the family member’s rights to benefits.
• *the period working in the other EU country must be at least three months;
• weekend visits and holidays do not count as residence;
• during the period of residence family life must have been “created or strengthened”.
states: “a British citizen who has lived and worked in another member state for a period of two years is more likely meet the requirement of regulation 9(2)(c) than a British citizen who was employed in another Member state for a period of four months.”
**Note that many European law experts dispute the legality of the centre of interest test.
Regulation 9 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations
(1) If the conditions in paragraph (2) are satisfied, these Regulations apply to a person who is the family member of a British citizen as if the British citizen (“P”) were an EEA national.
(2) The conditions are that–
(a) P is residing in an EEA State as a worker or self-employed person or was so residing before returning to the United Kingdom;
(b) if the family member of P is P’s spouse or civil partner, the parties are living together in the EEA State or had entered into the marriage or civil partnership and were living together in the EEA State before the British citizen returned to the United Kingdom; and
(c) the centre of P’s life has transferred to the EEA State where P resided as a worker or self-employed person.
(3) Factors relevant to whether the centre of P’s life has transferred to another EEA State include–
(a) the period of residence in the EEA State as a worker or self-employed person;
(b) the location of P’s principal residence;
(c) the degree of integration of P in the EEA State.
(4) Where these Regulations apply to the family member of P, P is to be treated as holding a valid passport issued by an EEA State for the purpose of the application of regulation 13 to that family member.