The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 came into effect from 1st February 2017.  The Home Office also issued new guidance on how they will apply these Regulations.

Some of the main changes are as follows:

Procedure for EEA residence documentation – Regulation 21:

  • Compulsory application forms.
  • Application to be made either online via the government website, by post or in person using the specified forms.
  • Specified documents must be provided.
  • Application for a residence card or a derivative residence card must be submitted while the Applicant is in the UK.

Verification of a right of residence – Regulation 22:  

  • Verification process for the Home Office to check if an EEA national or their family members qualify to reside in the UK including possible Home Office interview.

 Limited appeal rights – Regulation 36:

  • No right of appeal for extended family members (applying the decision of the Upper Tribunal in the case of Sala).
  • Right of appeal for EEA decisions only (i.e. admission to the UK, residence documents (issue, renewal and revocation), removal from the UK and cancellation).

Guidance on what is genuine and effective employment – Home Office Guidance:

  • Follow the link below for the new Home Office guidance on the definition of a worker:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588174/EEA-qualified-persons-v4_0EXT.pdf

  • The Home Office appear to have introduced a minimum level of earnings requirement (also known as the Primary Earnings Threshold (PET) that must be met in order to demonstrate that an Applicant is in genuine and effective employment. The PET is the point at which employees must pay Class 1 NI contributions.

This new regime is more prescriptive in terms of the procedure to be followed and so the Home Office is now empowered to refuse more applications than they were able to under the previous Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.

We have noted a marked rise in rejections of applications on the basis that they are invalid for not enclosing the right documents in particular and also of refusals.

If an application is refused, it is important to recognise what is and what is not an EEA decision as this will impact on what options you have to challenge the refusal of a decision from the Home Office.

Contact us if you require any advice and assistance with your immigration matter.