Archives For Europe

wedding rings

The idea of a “proxy marriage” is rather alien in the UK and our fairly recently developed romantic love culture. It involves one or both parties to a marriage being represented by someone else at the marriage ceremony rather than attending in person. It is a sort of literal version of one’s mind being elsewhere, I suppose, and in an increasingly globalised and time-poor world will perhaps become more common…

Proxy marriages have been addressed in at least two previous tribunal determinations (and my first post on this subject was in 2008) and also featured in a recent Chief Inspector or Borders and Immigration report (and even more so in the ensuing media coverage). The latest case is TA and Others (Kareem explained) Ghana [2014] UKUT 316 (IAC). It usually means trouble where a previous determination or judgment needs to be “explained”. Continue Reading…

chief inspector logo

Just a quick one to flag up a new report by Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine into the European Casework Directorate at the Home Office. The report is generally quite positive but the emphasis of the press release, introductory text and subsequent press reports is on potentially abuse of EU rights. John Vine himself says:

I found significant attempted abuse by non-EEA nationals applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a European citizen. There were sham marriages and marriages by proxy (the couple remained in the UK and both were represented by others at the overseas wedding ceremony). Most of the proxies were found not to have been valid.

Some interesting snippets for fellow lawyers:

Continue Reading…

By Rock Cohen

Court of Justice of the European Union in Saint Prix v UK (Case C‑507/12):

Article 45 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that a woman who gives up work, or seeking work, because of the physical constraints of the late stages of pregnancy and the aftermath of childbirth retains the status of ‘worker’, within the meaning of that article, provided she returns to work or finds another job within a reasonable period after the birth of her child.

Astonishing that the UK Government fought this one so hard in this day and age.

Molly Malone

Judgment has finally been handed down in the latest test case on Dublin removals to Italy, Tabrizagh and others v SSHD [2014] EWHC 1914 (Admin) and although it is on any view bad news, there is much in it to consider. In a carefully reasoned and frankly impressive decision the newly made up Laing J dismissed the claimants’ challenge on the facts. This is the first Dublin case to consider the principles in the Supreme Court’s ground-breaking EM (Eritrea) v SSHD [2014] UKSC 12. Continue Reading…

By Rock Cohen

No, not an amendment to take account of the judgment in O v The Netherlands C‑456/12 (blog post: Surinder Singh immigration route) [ed: who knows how long we will have to wait for that] but one to try to limit the period during which an EU national is considered to be a jobseeker. This is an issue my colleague Desmond Rutledge has been following closely with a series of blog posts.

The amendment comes via the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1451) and takes effect on 1 July 2014. It is a fairly short and fairly obscure change, further amending the already heavily amended paragraph 6 of the main Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 so that it now ‘reads’ [ed: it is in truth almost unreadable] as follows with the latest changes italicised: Continue Reading…


There can be few immigration practitioners who do not presently encounter decisions in relation to applications made on the basis of peoples’ private and family life which do not carry the right of appeal. In recent years the prevailing tendency has become to segregate decisions, where the applicant is an overstayer or illegal entrant, such that refusals to vary leave to remain are made without further steps to enforce removal, leaving migrants without an appealable immigration decision which would gain them access to a merits appeal in the First-tier Tribunal (because overstayers do not enjoy the right of appeal given section 82(2)(d) of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, and absent any duty to make speedy removal directions when refusing applications, see Daley-Murdock [2011] EWCA Civ 161). Numerous considerations arise in these cases as to the remedies available and their scope. Continue Reading…

By Rock Cohen

The ‘Surinder Singh route’ has become well known to British citizens seeking to be reunited with their family members. The toughening up of UK immigration rules in July 2012 – particularly the introduction of the minimum income rule and its labyrinthine documentary requirements and the awful elderly dependent relative rules – is resulting in an increasing number of split families. To understand their misery and anguish, take a look at some of the comments left here on this blog or visit the BritCits website. As recently reported, over 3,000 families had applications on hold by the Home Office pending the outcome of a test case, and that was only as of the end of December 2013. That was at least 6,000 adults and it is unknown how many of those couples have children. The numbers can only have increased since then.

The old Court of Justice of the European Union case of Surinder Singh provides a potential means of bypassing the harsh UK immigration rules by relying instead in European Union free movement laws. But a new European case, O v The Netherlands Case C‑456/12, brings some good news and a bit of bad news. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series EEA benefit crackdown

On 19 January 2014, Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa May told the Daily Mail that Britain’s generous welfare system should no longer be a ‘magnet’ for citizens of other EU states and that they would be introducing a number of measures aimed at new migrant jobseekers from the European Economic Area (EEA).

“For those migrants who do come here, we’re ensuring they are unable to take unfair advantage of our system by accessing benefits as soon as they arrive.  For example, we introduced rules so that from January 1 this year we are banning individuals from receiving out-of-work benefits until they have been living in the UK for three months. And we will go still further: from the beginning of April we will be removing entitlement to housing benefit altogether for this group.”

The DWP has now issued the Housing Benefit (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/539) as well as official guidance to local authorities HB Circular A6/2014.  While the change has been portrayed as being aimed at newly arrived EEA migrants (particularly those from Eastern Europe), it is now clear that it will also affect those EEA nationals who do not manage to pass the ‘more exacting test’ for genuine and effective work, in the form of the Minimum Earnings Threshold (‘MET’), when they claim JSA(IB). Continue Reading…

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series EEA benefit crackdown

The Department of Work and Pensions has introduced the Minimum Earnings Threshold ‘(MET)’ as part of the decision making process for determining whether EEA nationals who claim income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA(IB)) have retained the status of a ‘worker’. Here I look at what it is, how it works, its intended and actual impact and whether it may be amenable to legal challenge. Continue Reading…

Expediting an EU residence card application

This is just one of the useful snippets from the ILPA policies and concessions gaining course I co-presented with Alison Stanley and Meghan Vozila last week. They in fact did most of the work!

It is possible to request expedition of an EU residence card application where it has been outstanding for over three months. See the European Casework Instructions at Chapter 10 for details. There are also other potential justifications for speeding things up, including being unable to make journeys necessary for compassionate or business reasons on existing documents, being elderly (i.e. 65 or over) and showing that an EEA document is needed for a particular job.