The result of this reference on the free movement rights of EEA citizens who naturalise as British and thus become dual citizens will be very interesting and important. The transitional provisions in Schedule 3 to the Immigration (EEA) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 are fiendishly complex, although perhaps ultimately irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.
It is not entirely clear that the issue will ultimately be relevant in the particular case, however, as it had not been established that the claimant had actually held permanent residence at any point. See paragraph 32 of the judgment:
At the hearing, I asked counsel to explain how, and when, Mrs Ormazabal acquired a right of permanent residence, as it was not apparent from the evidence which had been adduced when she began to exercise her extended rights of residence, either as a “worker” or as a student who had comprehensive sickness cover, under Article 7 and regulations 14 and 6. It appeared that the Claimant’s lawyers had not previously explored this issue with Mrs Ormazabal, and so took instructions from her in court.
The judge continues at paragraph 33:
However, since she studied for 8 years in the U.K., from the age of 20, it seemed to me to be likely, on the balance of probabilities that she had worked during that time, and I was reluctant to shut her out from pursuing this point merely because of what appeared to me to be under-preparation by her lawyers, and bearing in mind that the Defendant had not previously challenged the Claimant’s assertion that she had acquired the right of permanent residence before naturalisation.