"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

UK tightens Surinder Singh route

As of 1st January 2014, non-EU family members of British citizens will face greater restrictions on their right to free movement within the European Union (EU).

The changes, published by the Home Office last week as amendments to the 2006 regulations concerning European Economic Area immigration, affect the UK’s interpretation of the Council Directive 2004/38/EC (the Directive).

The Directive governs the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within any member state, with free movement a fundamental principal of the EU.

Among the measures introduced by the regulations to tackle the abuse of rights of residence conferred by the Directive are new criteria concerning the family members of British citizens hoping to benefit from the provisions of the Singh case.

In C-370/90 Singh, the Court of Justice in the European Union ruled that non-EU family members of EU nationals who have worked in another member state may retain their rights to free movement on return to the EU citizen’s member state of nationality. This judgment has been given effect in UK law via the 2006 regulations. 

Under the new regulations, the qualifying criteria which give effect to this judgment have been amended. The new rules state that in order for family members to benefit from the Singh provisions, the British citizen must have transferred the ‘centre of their life’ to another member state.

“Whether or not a British citizen has transferred the centre of their life to another member state will be assessed by reference to a number of criteria, including the length of residence, the degree of integration and whether or not the British citizen has moved their principal residence to that other member state,” says the memorandum.

The changes have been made to, “… ensure that there has been a genuine and effective use of free movement rights in the other member state before such rights may apply by analogy upon return to the UK.”

There has been a surge in British nationals using what is commonly referred to as the Surinder Singh route since the July 2012 amendments to the immigration rules, which saw the introduction of a financial requirement for British sponsors of non-EU partners and dependent children.

While the new criteria will have the effect of: “… preventing abuse by those British citizens who move temporarily to another member state in order to circumvent the requirements of the usual immigration rules for their family members upon return to the UK” according to the amendment, it could have a disproportionate impact on the exercise of free movement rights, something the Singh judgment sought to prevent. 


  1. This new rule is against the right to free movement provided by the European Union. This "centre of life" rule is clearly illegal. UK has no right to prevent dependent of British Citizen with EEA Family permit to enter into UK. I am sure this will be challenged in the courts.

    1. I agree, they cannot prevent UK citizens from exercising their rights and bring their immediate family to the UK, I was born in the UK, both my kids have British passports, its just my wife, it is mine and my family right to live in the UK.
      I think we should start a petition of some sort against this move.

    2. Good idea about the petition! How about BritCits organise one to the EU itself? http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/complaints/index_en.htm

    3. I agree fully. My husband and I are currently in the EU in an attempt to work and live for a duration of at least 3 months. Our resources are almost depleted, he still has no offer of employment and we have no accomodation. Meaning I am on the verge of returning to my home country 6000 miles away, with no remedy on the horizon. In my opinion, this does not tackle the matter at hand. It is simply thinly veiled discrimination in a two tier society, in which the rich are cared for and the working man is forgotten.

    4. The British Government are changing the rules as fast as court cases are being rules against them. They are currently telling me that I can't bring my family into the UK (I'm British, lived in Portugal 6 years and have two children with my partner).

      To me, it seems like cruel and unusual punishment: just finding any made up excuse to refuse people when it is obvious we are a united family that just want to live together (they are entirely dependent on me financially) . One and a half years separated now, and still trying; it is a joke.

    5. A High Court judge has just ruled that Surinder Singh principles can be applied to the unmarried partner of a Brit returning worker (and by extension, other "extended family" members). The case is Cain v SSHD and there is a reference to it here: http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/eu-rights-clinic/2013/12/08/uk-changes-rules-on-surinder-singh-route/

  2. Does this mean dependent of British Citizen who is a EEA Residence permit holder will be denied entry to UK even if British Citizen exercised treaty rights in another EU country?

    1. Anonymous - truthfully nobody knows what the full implications of this will be yet. Watch this space.

      You may also want to join this Facebook group for discussion of SS :

    2. This is the judgement I recently received (if this helps):
      (1) I cannot apply for an EEA family permit because I am British. This is unless I use the Surinder Singh route:
      (2) Under the Immigration Law (UK) the Surinder Singh route requires that I am married*

      *My problem is that my partner was married under Angolan jurisdication, and it is impossible for her to divorce (corruption).. 4 years and no progress. However, under European law we are considered as a couple because of her dependency (100% dependency on me, for 3 1/2 years) and because we have lived together >2 years in a European country as if husband and wife.

      Basically, I expect the appeal to be rejected, because they are not breaking British Law, but if I take it to Europe, it will be one more case.

    3. Hi uberdonkey - thanks for your comment. I will digest this!

    4. Also I hope that your situation is resolved soon.

  3. I think it is downright diabolical that a british citizen and british passport holder children have to enter another country and set up a life before they come back to the uk. Absolutely disgusting.

  4. british ruls arr disgusting im away from my wife and doughter for 3years now i heard they have human rights i wold like to ask where are they i have got so much to say bt i dont wana say just emagin every body my satation 3years after 3years now i am in ireland

  5. Hello there guys
    I'm an Albanian citizen married with a British English citizen. I was illegal at the time I met my husband and so we couldn't get married in the uk. After a year engaged and living together (with proofs and tenancy agreement) we decided to return in my home country to get married and apply for a spouse visa. While we took care of all details and proofs,repeating that we are a really in love couple,absolutely genuine,they refused my right to join my dear husband based on a non satisfaction about our relationship being genuine and that because I was illegal I didn't pay taxes nor showed remorse while no one explained I had to in this situations. . I'm five months apart from my husband,and we are going to appeal this so unfair and stupid decision! While in the application they mention if they believe so they're going to call us in an interview,no one did so. Our flatmates could have been telling them if we are genuine,the room we rent in both names with my stuff in there waiting for my return with my husband,my in laws ,our friends,anyone who in a year and a half have met us. They just had to ask before refusing a real couple from being together. My husband has already traveled twice to see me since I came back. Once with me for the marriage and then a little honey moon in my country's beautiful beaches,and the last time was couple of weeks ago which he came for 14 days. Please help me by giving me any advice. I'm afraid all this distance will break us apart and my health is getting bad while I'm a really healthy person. All this anxiety and all these lost amounts...all we want is live together again.
    Thank you all
    Alisa B.