On 24th July 2018 the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 came into force. These key changes are outlined below:
- Following the decision of Lounes, dual nationals can now rely on EU law so long as they exercised treaty rights before they naturalised as British citizens. This means EU citizens who have naturalised as British retain their free movement rights under EU law despite their naturalisation. This Regulation has been clarified in Regulation 9A EEA Regulations.
An example of this amendment would be a non-EEA family member can now make an application under the EEA Regulations to join their now British family member in the UK as long as that British family member was exercising treaty rights prior to their naturalisation. This route can help avoid the stricter Immigration Rules.
- Following the decision of Gusa EEA citizens can now retain the status of self-employed where they are temporarily unable to work due to illness or if they are involuntarily no longer self-employed (provided certain conditions are met). These conditions are brought in line with the conditions under which an EEA citizen can retain their status as a worker. This amendment is detailed at Regulation 6 of the EEA Regulations.
- The decision in the case of 0 and B has led to changes to the Surinder Singh route. This route allows non-EU family members of British Citizens to join their family using certain EU rules. The changes here are small and require an applicant to provide information to show that genuine and subsisting family life with a British Citizen was created and strengthened during their residence together in an EEA Country.
- Amendments have also been made to Regulation 15 of the EEA Regulations regarding Permanent Residence, the amendment clarifies that EU nationals who have lived in the UK for 10 years must have acquired the right to permanent residence before being entitled to the enhanced protection against deportation and expulsion that Permanent Residence brings. Individuals subject to exclusion or deportation orders under the EEA Regulations will now not have a right of admission, initial right of residence, extended right of residence or permanent right of residence and all future applications under EEA regulations(for residence documentation or family permits) will not be successful.
- The decision in the case Chavex-Vilchez has led to amendments to the definition of a primary carer. The EEA Regulations currently provide provisions which allow some primary carers of EEA Nationals to obtain rights to live in the UK. The definition of primary carer has now been widened following the case of Chavex-Vilchez and now includes those who share responsibility equally with someone else, even if that someone is an exempt person.
As the UK will soon be leaving the EU it is very likely that there will be more changes to immigration, especially for EEA Nationals with the development of the Settled Status scheme.