Page | 1 2 October 2014

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below we set out answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, with the aim to provide an
overview of the immigration rules, a better understanding of what they mean in general and some
information on free movement.

This document cannot and does not cover every circumstance. It should not be relied upon for making
decisions and how to fill in application forms. Whilst we have tried to ensure all facts are correct, we
cannot and do not proclaim that this document is gospel – you are responsible for undertaking your own
checks and obtaining specialist immigration advice where needed.

This document does not update automatically for the frequent changes to the immigration rules nor does
it go into the required level of detail applicants will need, in order to make a successful application.

Q. WHAT IS BRITCITS?

A. BritCits is a human rights non-profit organisation and registered charity. We came about, initially as
a campaign group in 2012 in direct response to the family immigration rules brought into force on 9
July 2012.

There were long-established organisations looking out for the rights of migrants, but none which
seemed to cater for the impact of the immigration rules on British citizens – possibly because never
before has there been such a heavy burden on the sponsor alone. British citizens have indicated to us
that they now feel as if they are subject to immigration control in their own country, if they wish to live
here with their family.

Over time as the devastation wreaked on British residents and refugees with foreign family members as
a result of these rules has come to light, we have identified a role to play in representing these groups
too. However refugees are very small in number and residents in the UK who are foreign citizens tend
to earn higher salaries, thus our resources are concentrated on where needed most which at the moment
is British citizens who have the right to live in the UK without let or hindrance.

Q. WHAT DOES BRITCITS GET FROM THIS WORK?

A. The satisfaction of knowing we are helping people. One of the trustees was impacted by the adult
dependant rules and she availed her free movement rights to unite her family using the Surinder Singh
route. The other has a foreign wife though he falls under the pre 9 July 2012 rules. We both have had
dealings with the Home Office and are both peeved at what we deem to be a gross level of interference
into family life by the UK authorities. Whilst we now have our families in the UK, seeing the ongoing
havoc wreaked by the Home Office on families, we choose to attempt to right some wrongs rather than
be a silent bystander.

Q. HOW ARE YOU FUNDED?

A. Currently we are mainly self-funded, but we do receive donations and help from volunteers as well,
which goes a long way. If you’d like to help either financially or with your skills, please get in touch.
You can be active on social media (twitter, facebook), helping raise awareness and sharing knowledge
and experiences with others.

If you wish to arrange a meetup to reach out to other members that can be done through
www.meetup.com/BritCits


Page | 2 2 October 2014

Q. WHAT IN THE IMMIGRATION RULES IS PROVING SO CONTENTIOUS?

A. There have been drastic changes to the immigration rules as they impact those with non-EEA
partners and non-EEA parents.

For those with non-EEA partners, the requirements are
1
:
o Income requirement specified at £18,600 (more if there are non-British children involved)
o Third party support disregarded
o Potential income or job offers to partners excluded unless they already have the right to work in UK
o £62,500 in cash savings required using a bizarre multiplier to make up any shortfall in income
o Self-employed not allowed to use savings to make up a shortfall in income
o Probationary period increased from 2 to 5 years, with financial assessments again at the 30 month
period and at the end of 5 years (three applications, three application fees).
o Abolition of 4 year rule allowing partners of British citizens in marriages of duration over 4 years to
be granted ILR immediately.
o Value of most investments and property disregarded (income generated from them is allowed)

There appears also to be a lot of rigidity in the evidential requirements even where the rules otherwise
can be met.

Where in doubt, please do seek specialist immigration advice.

English language requirements have also changed with passing of three tests required, where language
skills need to be proven (and again, three sets of fees to pay!):

o A1 is still required at initial application (previously this was the only requirement).
o B1 level pass now required before ILR granted - broadly equivalent to studying for HNC or HND.
o Life in the UK pass required (previously this could be used to meet the language requirements given
the test is undertaken in English).

More information on the language requirement is available here:
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/english-for-spousepartnerfiancee-visa.html

All together, these elements add to the uncertainty experienced and expense incurred.

For those with non-EEA parents, the adult dependant relative (“ADR”) rules are akin to a ban, with
parents needing to be in such poor state of health that they need help bathing and dressing, yet in good
enough health to travel to the UK; the sponsor needs to have sufficient money to look after their parent
in the UK, but not so much that the funds could be used to pay someone in the parent’s home country to
look after them. The contradiction within the rules where meeting one part of the criteria means not
being able to meet another, leaves many members in a quandary as to how such rules could ever be
satisfied.


1
These are as per our understanding at time of writing and do not cover all the changes. Readers should
undertake their own research and seek specialist immigration advice, not least because the government frequently
amends the immigration rules.

Page | 3 2 October 2014

NON-EEA PARTNERS

Q. WHAT ARE THE FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS TO BE MET FOR BRITISH CITIZENS,
RESIDENTS AND REFUGEES LIVING IN THE UK WHO WISH TO SPONSOR THEIR
NON-EEA PARTNER?

A. The financial requirements fall broadly within three groups:

o Exempt if sponsor is in receipt of certain types of benefits e.g. Disability Living Allowance, Carers
allowance etc. Although there is still a minimum level needed made up from those benefits that is
the equivalent to the level of income received for income support and council tax allowance plus
accommodation
o Gross income in excess of £18,600 p.a. (more if there are non-EEA children involved) over a 6
month period if employed, or 12-24 months if self-employed. This is before deductions for income
tax and National Insurance contributions.
o Shortfall in income made up with certain forms of savings (cash and some other types of assets)
Those who are self-employed are not allowed to use savings to make up an income shortfall.

More info at the following links, but bear in mind the Home Office is not averse to amending the rules
on a regular basis. The requirements are also not composed of the financial requirements alone – there
are also very stringent evidential requirements.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-rules-appendix-fm-se

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299103/Financial_Requir
ement_Guidance_20140324.pdf

Q. WHEN DID THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT START CHARGING BRITISH CITIZENS A
FEE FOR LIVING HERE WITH THEIR SPOUSE?

A. Fees were introduced 1st August 2003 under the Immigration (Leave to Remain) (Fees) Regulations
2003. Initially the fee was set at £155. More information here: https://www.gov.uk/visa-fees and here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/279536/Fees_Table_Apri
l_2014.pdf

Q. MY FRIEND ONLY HAD A ONE YEAR PROBATION PERIOD WHEN SHE GOT
MARRIED. WHEN DID IT CHANGE?

A. In April 2003 the probationary period was increased from 1 year to 2 years. This was further
increased in July 2012 to 5 years.



The change in fees and probationary period are examples of politicians getting away with
sneaking in a change on the pretence that it’s minor, but insufficient protest by campaigners,
lawyers and the general public (voters) at the outset leaves the door wide open for further
exploitation.


Page | 4 2 October 2014

Q. DO THE RULES ALLOW FOR INCOME FROM MULTIPLE JOBS AND OVERTIME TO
COUNT TOWARDS THE £18,600 THRESHOLD?

A. Yes multiple jobs and overtime are allowed, although we are aware of a case where the applicant
was initially refused because the income threshold was met using overtime payments. The ECO stated
overtime “cannot be guaranteed” and thus could not be used towards meeting the financial requirement,
despite section 5.5.5. of Appendix FM stating otherwise.

If one of your jobs is self-employed, 12 months of evidence instead of the possible 6 may be required
and it could prevent you from using savings to make up a shortfall in income.

Q. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST IN VISA FEES FOR MY SPOUSE TO STAY IN THE UK
WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS?

A. As of June 2014, fees payable to the Home Office for a non-EEA spouse/partner to remain in the UK
are in excess of £3000, to cover just the applications made at entry, the 30 month period, 5 year mark
and naturalisation.

Additional expenses may be incurred by individuals for:
o Biometric fees
o Life in the UK test
o English language course and material fees, and for the English language test
o Professional advice – lawyers, accountants, translation
o Special centre submission fees
o Property inspection reports
o TB health screening
o Postage fees
o Telephone calls to the international helpline – a premium number costing £1.37 per minute

However the service despite the exorbitant fees is not guaranteed and reviews don’t appear to be
particularly favourable.

Contact details for the premium helpline: https://ukvi-international.faq-help.com/
Google Reviews: Scroll to the Bottom https://plus.google.com/102268078275790900786/about?hl=en
Yelp Reviews: http://www.yelp.com/biz/british-consulate-general-new-york-
2?utm_campaign=search_listing&utm_source=yahoo
Expatforum: http://www.expatforum.com/expats/britain-expat-forum-expats-living-uk/30135-post-
your-uk-visa-timeline-here-492.html#post4389082


Additional fees for court, appeals are on top; the heartbreak caused to families kept apart during the
increasingly lengthy process cannot be quantified in monetary terms.


Page | 5 2 October 2014

Q. WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHOSE FAMILY MEMBERS ARE FROM COUNTRIES WHERE
THE FOREIGN OFFICE ADVISES AGAINST TRAVEL AND LIVE IN POTENTIAL
DANGER, SUCH AS SYRIA AND EVEN PARTS OF PAKISTAN?

A. We have not seen any evidence of taking into account compassionate circumstances. We have seen
evidence of Entry Clearance Officers suggesting a British mum and baby go live in Pakistan. There are
also reports of an immigration blacklist of countries from which applications are especially scrutinised.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/sep/26/government-defends-secrecy-immigration-blacklist

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9569837/Foreign-Office-fights-move-to-
publish-secret-immigration-blacklist.html

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/high_risk_immigration_blacklist

Q. THESE RULES WERE CHALLENGED IN HIGH COURT. WHAT DID THE JUDGE SAY
AND WHAT HAPPENED THEN?

A. In 2013, three families took Home Office to court, challenging the financial requirements for non-
EEA partners of British citizens, residents and refugees, in “MM & Ors” commonly referred to as ‘the
MM case”. The High Court hearing was in February 2013 and ruling heard on 5 July 2013.

Justice Blake seemed to be especially concerned about the impact on citizens and refugees – one, a
group that has the right to live here without let or hindrance and the other, as refugees, we have a
responsibility towards. He suggested requirements may be justifiable in isolation but all together were
too onerous, given the first £16,000 of savings is ignored, £18,600 being so much higher than minimum
wage, third party support disregarded and credible job offers for the non-EEA partner not permitted.

The High Court ruling is here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2013/1900.html

However this ruling was appealed and the case was then heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in the
Court of Appeal (Civil Division) on 4-5 March 2014.

Q. WHAT DID THE JUDGES IN THE COURT OF APPEAL SAY?

A. There was a panel of three judges, lawyers representing the Home Office and three teams of lawyers
for each of the families involved. All parties agreed the rules are not compliant with Article 8. The
impression we were left with is that both days were positive – we think it was clear to the judges the
rules fail on several fronts.

The BritCits overview of the MM case can be found at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/231039718/MM-and-Ors-Case-Overview

For a more technical perspective, go to:
http://43templerow.co.uk/affluent-people-likely-integrate-better-poor-people

On 11 July 2014, the Court of Appeal handed down an incredibly disappointing judgment which
seemed to trivialise the impact of these rules on families using the justification that our politicians have
been democratically elected by us and hence have our stamp of approval to do as they see fit, and
although all three judges declared the rules to be discriminatory, they deemed this justified because
Theresa May was aware of the discrimination as part of her research. Yes, absolutely bizarre reasoning
that I am still unable to come to grips with.

Page | 6 2 October 2014

Q. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO APPLICATIONS IF THEY DON’T MEET THE INCOME
REQUIREMENTS?

A. On 5 July 2013, once the High Court ruling was made known, the Home Office placed what was
supposed to be a ‘temporary’ moratorium on processing applications where the only reason for refusal
was due to not meeting the financial requirements. Nearly a year later the ban on processing
applications is still in place, leaving many families in limbo.

Those whose applications were put on hold were unable to appeal (as they hadn’t been refused) but
because they had not been granted a visa, they were also unable to move ahead with their lives.

Where applications were made from within the UK, applicants were unable obtain their passport and
supporting documentation unless they withdrew their application. Living in the UK sans documentation
proving your identity and right to be is very difficult for basic things like renting a house, opening a
bank account, obtaining or converting an international driving licence, going to clubs, buying alcohol (if
look under 25), studying or even working.

The Home Office did following the Court of Appeal judgment announce they would start processing the
cases on hold, with most expected to be refusals.

Q. SO DURING THE MORATORIUM, DID THE HOME OFFICE NOT PROCESS
APPLICATIONS?

A. The Home Office indicated they WERE putting on hold those applications where only failure to
meet the financial requirements or the requirements of evidential evidence (i.e. that which is the subject
of the legal challenge) is the reason for refusal.

Those who satisfied all elements of the rules, including the financial and evidential requirements are
being granted visas, subject to the Entry Clearance Officer/Case worker not making a mistake.
Unfortunately, error making is too common an occurrence with the rules so complex even lawyers have
trouble understanding them let alone ECO’s with what we have been informed is just six weeks
training.



Page | 7 2 October 2014

OTHER

Q. HOW DOES THIS IMPACT THE RULES FOR ADR?

A. It doesn’t directly. However depending on the wording in the judgment, it may help any legal
argument against the ADR rules in place and define how human rights as well as fundamental rights of
British citizens are interpreted in the UK.

Q. WHAT ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD?

A. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Britain was a pioneer in pushing, is relevant,
as children have the right to have their parents and even grandparents present.

Section 55 deals with the best interest of the child although this is not something we have seen as being
evident in Home Office’s consideration of applications.

Q. HOW ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION ACT? WHAT IMPACT DOES THAT HAVE ON ME?

A. Human rights organisations and legal bodies campaigned against the Immigration Act 2014 which
brings in several changes. The most drastic for the BritCits membership perhaps is abolishing the right
to appeal, even for family visit visas. Appeal rights have been replaced by an internal administrative
review that is supposed to be completed within 28 days; no information on what happens if it isn’t.
Also under question is the independence of the person undertaking the review.

Other changes include requiring landlords to carry out immigration checks, Home Office being able to
revoke your driving licence, Health Charge to be introduced and Article 8 (right to family and private
life) being restricted by public interest considerations.

There is a lot of information on this online, including at the following sites:
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/movement-against-xenophobia-immigration.html
http://www.jcwi.org.uk/sites/default/files/Immigration%20Act%202014%20Summary%20Provisions_0
.pdf
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/contents/enacted/data.htm




Page | 8 2 October 2014

EXAMPLES

Q. RAJ EARNS £16,600 P.A. HIS ANNUAL INCOME SHORTFALL IS £2,000. HOW MUCH
SAVINGS DOES HE NEED TO SHOW IN ORDER TO SPONSOR HIS WIFE FROM SRI
LANKA?

A. The Home Office uses a formula to determine this amount such that the savings requirement
= £16,000 + 2.5 x (£18,600 – annual allowed earned income)
= £16,000 + 2.5 x (£18,600 - £16,600)
= £16,000 + 2.5 x £2,000
= £16,000 + £5,000
= £21,000

In the case of a shortfall of £2,000 therefore, the total savings which need to be evidenced would be
£21,000. However, if Raj’s income is from self-employment he can evidence meeting the financial
requirements either solely from savings or solely income. Self-employed people cannot use a
combination of income and savings to fulfil the financial requirement.

Q. IS THAT REALLY RIGHT? NEEDED £21,000 IN SAVINGS JUST FOR A £2,000 INCOME
SHORTFALL SEEMS ABSURD!

A. Yes and yes! Our understanding is the Home Office disregards the first £16,000 of savings as that’s
the level that would disqualify the sponsor from benefits (taking away the British citizen’s rights to
claim benefits). In response to a real life example, where an individual was denied a visa for being
£0.69 a week short of £18,600, the barrister representing the Home Office at the Court of Appeal at the
MM case stated there is “no near-miss principle”. This illustrates the Home Office’s lack of flexibility
even in the face of common sense and their own proclaimed aims to reduce the burden on taxpayer and
promote integration.

Q. RAJ’S WIFE ON HER VISA WOULD ‘NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS’. SINCE RAJ
IS A BRITISH CITIZEN WHY THEREFORE IS HE ALSO BEING PENALISED FOR BEING
ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS – EVEN WHERE HE MAY NOT BE CLAIMING THEM AND
HIS WIFE IS NOT ALLOWED TO CLAIM THEM?

A6. The government’s standard response on this is that those who wish to make a life in the UK do not
do so at the expense of taxpayers. We have tried to explain the concept of ‘no recourse to public funds’
to government officials. You may also to try and obtain clarification on the reasoning behind these
rules from your local MP as many are not aware of the impact of immigration rules on British citizens
and voters.

Q. ISABELLE IS A FULL-TIME MUM TO TWO CHILDREN (BOTH BRITISH). PHIL, HER
AUSTRALIAN HUSBAND IS A DOCTOR WHO WOULD EASILY OBTAIN A JOB IN THE
UK EARNING OVER £70,000. HIS INCOME WOULD DISQUALIFY ISABELLE FROM
CLAIMING INCOME-RELATED BENEFITS AND PHIL WOULD HAVE NO RECOURSE
TO PUBLIC FUNDS. WOULD THIS BE AN ACCEPTABLE PROOF OF EARNINGS?

A. The rules require that the income level must be met by the sponsor alone if the spouse does not
already have permission to work in this country – therefore only Isabelle’s earnings are counted. The
non-EEA partner’s earnings and potential earnings are disregarded, as is their contribution to society.
However the savings requirement can be met from either or both parties jointly.

Page | 9 2 October 2014

Q. NADIA’S MONTHLY INCOME FLUCTUATES BUT HER PAYSLIPS OVER THE LAST
SIX MONTHS SHOW SHE EARNED £9,600 IN THAT PERIOD, ANNUALISING TO MORE
THAN £18,600 – OVER THE THRESHOLD. IS THIS ENOUGH FOR NADIA TO SATISFY
THE INCOME REQUIREMENT TO SPONSOR HER MOROCCAN HUSBAND?

Month Gross income
January £1,600
February £1,650
March £1,540
April £1,590
May £1,620
June £1,600

A. Our understanding of the immigration rules is there are two ways of calculating income. One for
Salaried Income (fixed monthly salary for the minimum contractual hours) and the other for Non-
Salaried Income which is variable, includes overtime, bonuses, commission-based pay, hourly paid
work etc. Salaried Income is determined with reference to the payslip showing the lowest amount. In
the above example therefore the Home Office would determine that the annual salary is 12 x £1540 =
£18,480. This is less than £18,600 and Nadia would need to show additional income of £120 p.a. or
savings of £16,300. Using this rule alone means that those in seasonal employment, reliant on
bonuses/commission or who fall ill are even more severely penalised.

Calculation of Non-Salaried Income (which includes variable or hourly paid income) is more complex.

How the Home Office calculates and interprets your earnings can be down to how experienced the case
worker is and what is written in your employment contract. Where in doubt, please do seek specialist
immigration or accountancy advice.

Q. MARK’S ONLY INCOME IS A PENSION OF £14,000 A YEAR. HE DOES HOWEVER
OWN HIS HOME OUTRIGHT – WITH NO MORTGAGE OR RENTAL COSTS. HIS HOME
HAS BEEN VALUED AT £100,000. IS THIS ENOUGH FOR MARK TO SPONSOR HIS
NIGERIAN WIFE?

A. Property is not classed as an allowed asset under the rules, however proceeds from a property sale
can count towards the savings requirement. To qualify Mark could sell his house (incurring fees and
taxes). It is very likely Mark would then not be able to purchase a property again, given he would need
to be able to evidence savings at the 30 month and 5 year period, by when property prices will likely
have risen and given his age and income, he’d likely not qualify for a mortgage again.

Q. IF MARK SOLD HIS HOME, THUS HAVING THE CASH SAVINGS AT THE REQUIRED
LEVEL TO MEET THE FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS AND SPONSOR HIS WIFE.
WHERE WOULD THEY LIVE?

A. The Home Office does not offer a logical solution to this. Most would be forced to rent from the
private sector and the resultant reduction in how far their income goes would reduce their daily standard
of living.

Perversely, it appears that in order to meet the rules which the government says are in place so as to not
place a burden on taxpayers, individuals may need to jeopardise their financial security and thus risk
having to subsequently rely on the state in the future.

Page | 10 2 October 2014

Q. ROS IS A BRITISH CITIZEN LIVING IN THAILAND WITH HER THAI PARTNER AND
TWO BRITISH CHILDREN. SHE EARNS IN EXCESS OF THE EQUIVALENT OF £18,600.
ROS WISHES TO RETURN TO THE UK TO LOOK AFTER HER AGEING PARENTS AND
GIVE HER KIDS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BOND WITH THEIR GRANDPARENTS.

ROS CAN EVIDENCE EARNING IN EXCESS OF £18,600 - HAS SHE THEREFORE
SATISFIED THE INCOME REQUIREMENT?

A. For those who wish to return to the UK from overseas, even where they already earn over £18,600
there, they will need to evidence a job offer in the UK paying over £18,600 with a start date within a
specified time frame.

Q. BUT IT’S REALLY HARD TO GET A JOB FROM OVERSEAS. SURELY IF ROS CAN
DO WELL OVERSEAS, IN A NEW CULTURE, NEW LANGUAGE ETC, SHE WILL BE
ABLE TO DO SO AT HOME, ESPECIALLY WITH THE SUPPORT OF FAMILY?

A. We agree, however the Home Office does not make an allowance for this.

Q. SCOTT’S WIFE FROM INDONESIA WAS REFUSED A VISA BECAUSE ALTHOUGH
THEY WERE ABLE TO EVIDENCE SCOTT’S INCOME BEING IN EXCESS OF £18,600
THEY DID NOT SUBMIT THE P60 WHICH IS ONE OF THE FORMS ASKED FOR.
HOWEVER SCOTT DOES NOT HAVE A P60 YET!

A. Unfortunately, this is all too common an occurrence with the Home Office refusing to grant visas for
reasons such as this, notwithstanding that a P60 is only issued after the end of a tax year (normally in
May) and therefore may not exist at the time of the application, or that the income shown on the P60 is
lower than £18,600 only because it relates to an earlier tax year.

The rules appear to be harsh not only in their intent but their application as well.

The self employed are similarly affected by the requirement of needing a SA300 or SA302.

Q. CLINT IS A BRITISH CITIZEN WHO LIVES WITH HIS ELDERLY PARENTS IN THEIR
HOME. HIS WIFE AND CHILD ARE IN THE PHILIPPINES. CLINT, AN ONLY CHILD,
EARNS £14,000 A YEAR AND HIS PARENTS HAVE OFFERED ALL THREE OF THEM
RENT AND BILL FREE ACCOMMODATION. SURELY THIS MEANS CLINT DOESN’T
NEED TO EARN AS MUCH AS SOMEONE WHO WOULD HAVE THESE EXPENSES?

A. The rules now disallow third party support, which is despite the Migration Advisory Committee’s
research which the Home Office relies on to justify the income requirement, specifying that within the
£18,600 they have made a £6,000 allowance for accommodation expenses.


Page | 11 2 October 2014

EU FREE MOVEMENT DIRECTIVE AND SURINDER SINGH

Q. WHAT IS THE EU ROUTE?

A. EU route relates to a major pillar of the EEA regulations to do with free movement of people, goods
and services. This means those who are citizens of member states have the right, along with their non-
EEA family members (which includes spouses, partners and parents), to live, work, study or retire with
sufficient means in any member state other than the country of which they are a citizen (as national
rules apply to a country’s own citizens) subject to meeting the evidential requirements.

Free movement requires there be no barriers to movement, and that’s why it applies to family members
as well, as it is likely that if a citizen’s family members are not allowed in another member state, they
too would not be able to move freely.

Q. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE EU ROUTE?

A. Each member state will have slightly different requirements based on their interpretation of the EEA
regulations, but essentially you have the right to enter with your non-EEA family member, or have them
join you, in that member state.

They should be able to enter under any legal means – be it with an EEA family permit, another visa, or
under a visa waiver program if applicable.

Once they are in the member state you are exercising your treaty rights in, you have three months
(possibly more but cannot be less) to submit an application for their Residence Card with the local
authorities. In Ireland for example it’s the Garda.

The Residence Card – if all requirements are met – must be issued within six months and gives the non-
EEA family member the right to reside with the British citizen in that member state for five years.

The sponsor, in this case the British citizen, would need to demonstrate they were working, self-
employed, studying or self-sufficient. Relationship (marriage or birth certificates) would need to be
evidenced and in the case of adult dependent relatives, so would their dependency. It is likely that
tenancy contracts if applicable and utility bills will need to be submitted, showing the names of the
sponsor and all applicants.

Q. IS THIS THE SAME AS THE SURINDER SINGH ROUTE?

A. Surinder Singh (SS) route relates to a special case of free movement where an individual exercises
free movement rights to return to their own country of nationality – and this has been a route available
to us for over 20 years now. This is possible if they have already exercised free movement rights
initially in another member state. Some schools of thought suggest this requires the British citizen to
have been working or self-employed in the other member state and on their return to the UK they can
then opt for their family members – with whom family life was created or strengthened in the other
member state - to be treated as those of other EEA nationals under EEA regulations, rather than UK
immigration rules.


Page | 12 2 October 2014

Q. HOW CAN DEPENDENCY, FOR SAY PARENTS, UNDER EEA REGULATIONS BE
EVIDENCED?

A. We haven’t come across a list of documents specifying what is acceptable, but financial dependency
tends to be the most obvious to evidence by way of money transfers made from your account to theirs,
over a decent length of time; receipts showing you are paying for things for them e.g. accommodation,
travel. Evidence from doctors if the parents are physically dependent on you may also be helpful. If
you were living together outside the EU, try and evidence this, as living together can demonstrate
dependency.

There is no list that we have seen as to what will be accepted by different authorities– either in UK or
other member states. However, having lived with your parents in another member state, the
dependency argument is stronger as you should by then be able to evidence you were living with them
for several months at least, and thus they depended on your for accommodation etc. Living together is a
sign of strengthening of family life.

Q. WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE ABLE TO EXERCISE SS?
A. It depends who you speak to, as the regulations appear to be interpreted differently. Home Office’s
guidance is anything but transparent, but our understanding of their interpretation of the regulations is
as follows, with regards to the criteria the British citizen must meet before returning to the UK:

o Live and work/ be self-employed in another member state for at least 3 months, working over 12-14
hours a week.
o Reside with the non-EEA family members being sponsored, especially where the family member is a
spouse/partner so that family life is created or strengthened.
o Centre of Life must have moved.

Q. I HEARD THE HOME OFFICE HAS MADE IT MUCH HARDER NOW WITH THEIR
REGULATION 9, ‘CENTRE OF LIFE’ REQUIREMENTS – WHAT IS THIS?

Centre of Life has caused an enormous amount of debate amongst our Surinder Singhers. It is the
Home Office requiring that a British citizen who after having lived in another member state but now
wishes to return to the UK with non-EEA family members must demonstrate that whilst they were out
of the UK their 'centre of life' had moved too, consisting of three things

1) Length of residence i.e. the longer you lived in the other member state the better.
2) Principal residence i.e. where your main residence is - so if are in Ireland on weekends but in the UK
the rest of the week, it's hard to argue your principle residence is Ireland
3) Degree of integration i.e. how much effort have you made to integrate in your new home e.g.
learning the language, working, neighbourhood watch, taking an active role in the community.

I aired my suspicions on the legality of these conditions in 2013, however I'm not a lawyer so my views
are as good as yours. Colin Yeo of freemovement blog fame is a lawyer and shared his views having
taken into account a 2014 judgment touching on this topic. His piece seems well reasoned and clear -
read and form your own judgement and do as always, seek expert legal advice if needed. One of the
key things is that living in the other member state must have created or strengthened family life.
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/surinder-singh-immigration-route/

We have also been informed that the European Commission has begun infringement proceedings
against the UK in light of their COL requirements. This letter may help if you have any trouble with
dealings with the Home Office in relation to COL. http://www.freemovement.org.uk/wp-
content/uploads/2014/08/EU-Commission-letter-anon.pdf

Page | 13 2 October 2014

Q. WHERE CAN I GO FOR MORE INFORMATION ON EU AND SS ROUTE?

A. BritCits is happy to help by sharing our findings and those collected from members, and point you
to where more information can be found. However, each situation is different so it is recommended you
take specialist EU immigration advice if need, but more importantly undertake research yourself as the
rules are constantly changing: What may have been valid at one point in time may not be the case now,
and you are responsible for undertaking your own due diligence.

Solvit / YourEuropa respond to questions submitted through their website on EU issues. Lots of useful
information. http://ec.europa.eu/solvit/

A guide to your rights as an EU citizen
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/policies/citizenship/docs/guide_free_movement_low.pdf

Members of EEA visa...EU Free Movement group on Facebook answer questions and share experience
– it’s an excellent network demonstrating one of the most positive things to come out of the horrendous
UK immigration rules – solidarity. This page also has useful documents within the “Files” section.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/

“Surinder Singh for newbies” – guide on SS by David Bloor, a BritCits member and graphic designer
http://www.scribd.com/doc/195907674/Surinder-Singh-for-Newbies-2014

Surinder Singh from a lawyer’s perspective
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/surinder-singh-immigration-route/

Commentary on O vs Netherlands case, by immigration barrister Adam Pipe
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140422203343-217757507-surinder-singh-developments

Surinder Singh e-book (£) – written by leading immigration barrister and expert on EU regs, Colin Yeo
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/downloads/surinder-singh-eu-free-movement-for-british-citizens/

Q. CAN YOU RECOMMEND ANY LAWYERS TO HELP ME WITH SURINDER SINGH?

A. Feedback from members is advisors and lawyers pertaining to specialise in EU immigration don’t
tend to be familiar with Surinder Singh or Home Office’s ‘Centre of Life’. This is likely because:

1) We have a trigger-happy government constantly changing rules and its interpretation of the law

2) SS is a route Brits haven’t utilised much, as previously UK immigration rules were considered fairer,
so it’s not surprising there are few lawyers with practical experience in this area.

There are some rogue lawyers around, and bear in mind a lawyer advising on immigration cases need
not be a specialist in EU regulations, or even immigration! Of course there are good lawyers who do
have solid experience of Surinder Singh or other immigration matters, but they are few and far between.

Q. IF YOU WERE TO USE A LAWYER FOR EU IMMIGRATION WHO WOULD YOU USE?

We have no experience of using the services of an EU immigration lawyer. Colin Yeo through his blog
(link above) has shown himself to be someone who has made the effort to understand the nuances of
Surinder Singh and the courts interpretation of EEA regulations, so is our top pick as someone who has
demonstrated the knowledge and willingness to understand this area in depth, particularly with his
modestly priced e-book geared towards providing legal information on the Surinder Singh route.

Page | 14 2 October 2014


Bear in mind you will probably need to pay for advice or representation.

Q. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO BEAR IN MIND WHEN SELECTING A
LAWYER OR IMMIGRATION ADVISOR?

A. Ensure any immigration advisor is OISC registered. Ensure you know which lawyer will be
handling your case (for example you may speak with a very experienced lawyer but your case is then
handled by another lawyer in the firm). It may be worth asking if they will work on a conditional fee
arrangement (i.e. no win, no fee).

Check how many years experience the advisor or lawyer has in immigration, or EU immigration –
whatever is relevant to your situation. Lawyers need not have specialised in immigration to practice as
an immigration lawyer!

Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience of cases like yours, and success rate. And get this
information from them in writing if you rely on it to make a decision on who to instruct.

Be wary of anyone promising you the moon, given the various unknowns and the Home Office
sometimes acting randomly. However any guarantees you are given – ensure you obtain in writing.

Also, listen to your gut feeling. Many times it’s a question of the working relationship you are able to
establish and the level of mutual trust and communication. Some specialists will provide a free half
hour initial session so you can find out how they can help you and if you will get along with them.

If you cannot afford specialist advice Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Law Centres Network is a good
place to start. They have centres around the UK. http://www.lawcentres.org.uk/

However we can’t emphasise enough - undertake your own research as well. Not even the best lawyer
in the world will care as much about your family as you do.
.
Q. DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER USEFUL TIPS?

A. One of the most useful things we recommend is one which we have found very useful is looking at
the application forms you will need to submit, well in advance, to obtain an understanding of the
required documents and questions you’ll need to answer. These application forms will likely consist of:

- Family permit for the member state you are first exercising your treaty rights in
- Residence card for the member state you are first exercising your treaty rights in
- Family permit for the UK
- Residence card for the UK.

Please bear in mind though that these forms may be different when you get to the point you need to use
them, but they are the best guide nonetheless as to what you would need to submit and the process.

Finally, put yourself in the position of the person reviewing your application – how can you make it
easier for them to tick all the boxes they need to, in order to grant the visa?


Page | 15 2 October 2014


OTHER USEFUL LINKS

Our website: www.britcits.com

Freemovement blog: www.freemovement.org

Migrant’s Rights Network http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration – the results of their family inquiry
http://www.appgmigration.org.uk/family-inquiry


Videos made by some members:

Kevin's EEA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1-v0cV2Y8E

Andy & Molly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHpaq4KBxY

Eric & Halima: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KrMqtuvcck

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.