Sat | Dec 3, 2016

What's this about 'Surinder Singh'?

Published:Tuesday | October 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I had read previously where you mentioned the 'Surinder Singh route' with respect to residency in the United Kingdom. Could you please elaborate more on this term? Thanks.

- KL

Dear KL,

There are different eligibility requirements for a person to obtain a residence card, for example, if a person has a 'retained right of residence' or is a 'Surinder Singh' case.

The Surinder Singh route is a method for British citizens to secure United Kingdom immigration rights for their non-European spouses who are unable to join their partners because of several changes in United Kingdom immigration law, which is aimed at reducing net migration.

Through EU Regulations on Free Movement of Peoples, it provides a window of opportunity to reunite United Kingdom citizens with their spouses in the increasing number of cases where the new rules on income and other additional measures mean that such spouses of United Kingdom citizens would otherwise be separated by the requirements of increasingly strict visa controls.

The Surinder Singh route involves living and working elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) for a period of three or more months. It should be noted that there is no actual time period required by EU law, but instead, it is based on previous case law and its application. It asserts the rights associated with EEA citizenship and free movement to gain access to their own country while being covered by European law. In so doing, the Surinder Singh route triggers European rights of free movement that have otherwise been removed from United Kingdom citizens by United Kingdom legislation.

The Surinder Singh route applies to all European citizens - not just United Kingdom citizens. It also applies to qualifying dependent family members as well as spouses. For example, a French husband may bring his Mexican wife into France by exercising his treaty rights in Spain.

The case law that established this precedent was the European Court of Justice ruling in the case of R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Surinder Singh ex parte Secretary of State for the Home Department, [1992] 3 CMLR 358 ECJ.

A person may be able to apply for a residence card as a 'Surinder Singh' case.

to be eligible

To be eligible, he or she must be a citizen of a country outside the EEA and the married partner, civil partner, or child of a United Kingdom citizen; have lived with them in another EEA country where they worked or were self-employed before returning to the United Kingdom; and be able to show that his or her United Kingdom sponsor based their 'centre of life' in the EEA country in which you both were resident before returning to the United Kingdom.

An applicant should be able to prove his or her United Kingdom sponsor genuinely moved to another EEA country with: proof of their address, how long he or she lived, there and any other related information, for example, if a house was purchased.

Also, the applicant using this method may need to provide proof of their integration in the EEA country where they lived, for example, whether the applicant speaks the language, has any children born there, or was involved with the local community. I hope this helps.

n John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com.