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EEA/British dual citizenship – European rights

EEA/British dual citizenship – European rights

IMMIGRATION BLOG

EEA/British dual citizenship – European rights

18 November 2017

Some readers may be aware of a curious feature of European immigration law, as understood by the Home Office. Generally, EEA nationals can exercise free movement rights in the UK and their family members (of whatever nationality) can remain with them or come to join them in the UK.

But the Home Office have created a rule of their own that if an EEA national has dual EEA/British nationality then their non-EEA family members cannot rely on such rights. According to the Home Office, if such family members want to apply for leave in the UK then they have to apply under the UK immigration rules, which are more onerous.

This is seemingly related to or inspired by the old adage that “you can’t have your cake and eat it”.

The Home Office have inserted this provision into the Immigration (EEA) Regulations, which are the Regulations that the Home Office follows when it decides European applications.

This issue has just been tested by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which is the supreme court for EU law – the case is called “Lounes”. The court’s judgement is a tiny bit complicated, but the upshot is that the Home Office was wrong, and that such a provision is not lawful under European law.

This is very good news for those Europeans who have, or are aspiring to have, British citizenship and thus dual nationality; their non-EEA family members will now be able to benefit from European law.

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