EU citizens keep immigration rights in UK, court rules

From BBC - November 14, 2017

EU nationals who become British citizens do not lose the right to bring a foreign-born spouse to the UK, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

London's High Court referred the case of an Algerian man, who lived in the UK with his wife, but who British authorities were trying to deport.

His wife had dual Spanish and British nationality, which gave the man a "derived" residence right, judges said.

The government said it was reviewing the ruling and considering its impact.

The Home Office had argued that once she became a British citizen, Spanish-born Perla Nerea Garca Ormazabal became subject to UK immigration rules, rather than the freedom of movement directive which applies to EU nationals.

That change, officials said, meant she should be treated like any other British national who would have to go through strict immigration procedures - in place since 2012 - to assess whether her husband qualified to be in the UK.

Under those procedures, British citizens must earn more than 18,600 ($23,140) before a spouse from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can settle in the UK.

However, on Tuesday, the ECJ ruled that Ms Ormazabal retained the right, under EU law, to a family life, and specifically, to have her husband live with her even if he was from a third country.

BBC Europe correspondent Damian Grammaticas says the ruling only applies to European citizens who have exercised their right to move within the EU and have family rights linked to that move.

How it might affect EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit - and their ability to have foreign-born spouses live with them - is not yet clear, our correspondent added.

The case at the heart of the judgement


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