The Home Office have announced that all cases presently on hold are to start being reconsidered from 28th July. In light of the Court of Appeal decision, it is not likely to bring good news. Given the number of distressing enquiries we have received these past days in the aftermath of the judgement, it is worthwhile stepping back whilst options are considered. The most common question we are asked is in relation to European residency options so it is worthwhile taking a look at what has become known as the 'Surinder Singh Route'.
If an EU national has been resident in another member state exercising EU Treaty rights, then they gain the right to bring their family members back home and applications for the non EEA family members are considered under EU law and not domestic law.
The Home Office operate consideration of these applications under the EEA Regulations 2006 . There are ofcourse amendments to these Regulations, the latest in the form of The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. These came into force on the 1st January 2014 and sought to curtail the application of 'Surinder Singh' by stipulating that the British national had transferred the centre of life to the EU member state before accepting that the right had been established to bring family members back to the UK under EU provisions.
However, a European case clarified the scope of the Surinder Singh principle and held that all EU citizens who exercise their rights under European law are entitled to have their family members join them in their home state on return. The Court stated that the conditions for granting a right of residency to a non EEA national who is the family member of the EU citizen should not in principle be more strict that those provided for by the Directive. The court further stated that a period of residency for over 3 months is required to embrace the right indicating that the family life must be created or strengthened during that period. ( O v The Netherlands (Case C-456/12) )
Therefore although there may be attempts by the Home Office to limit the application of Surinder Singh with the 2014 Regulations , we know that this is not a lawful approach and the judgment of O V Netherlands must be applied.
There are numerous articles to be found online ( and FB & Twitter dedicated groups ) on the subject of these applications but for a good detailed account and further information see FreeMovement - Surinder Singh Immigration Route.