Home Office immigration limitation attempt fails

Date: 
31 October 2018

The Home Office has failed in its attempt to limit the scope of the Surinder Singh immigration route in a Court of Appeal case on extended family members.

The Surinder Singh route enables British citizens returning from other EU states to bring certain non-EU relatives with them, including ‘extended family members’.

Secretary of State for the Home Department v Christy [2018] EWCA Civ 2378 concerned an unmarried couple in a ‘durable relationship’. He (Jones) was from the UK. She (Christy) was from the USA. The couple lived in Poland.

Legal argument centred on the ‘right to facilitation’, which gives durable partners an advantage over other non-EU nationals when applying for residency. Its purpose is to help secure free movement of EU citizens.

Christy’s right to stay in Poland was granted under domestic Polish law and existed independently of any right under EU law. The Home Office argued that it did not have an obligation to consider, let alone grant, a Surinder Singh application since Christy’s right to stay in Poland, where she formed a relationship with Jones, had not been granted on the basis of that relationship.

Delivering judgment, however, Lord Justice Sales rejected that argument on the basis the Home Office had been ‘unable to identify any coherent policy rationale’ why Christy’s right to have her application considered should depend on her having a right to stay in Poland based on her relationship with Jones. ‘To limit the derived right in this way would also mean it operated in an arbitrary manner which could never have been intended by the Court of Justice of the European Union,’ he said.

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