A British citizen client of Broudie Jackson Canters travelled to the Republic of Ireland from the UK with his Canadian wife and British child to work and of course live. The family remained in the Republic for over a year before they decided that they wanted to return to the UK. It will be seen that the British/EU citizen was lawfully able to locate to the Republic. His wife was granted, by the Irish government, her Irish status documents as a non EU family member of an EU national who was exercising his EEA treaty rights as a worker in the Republic of Ireland. So far, everything is pretty much clear.

Legal Position

By virtue of the Articles of the European Union EU, nationals can lawfully relocate to and work in another EU country. The free movement rights of citizens of the European Union is specifically established by Article 21.

It is common knowledge that, barring exceptional circumstances, only EU citizens who exercise their free movement rights can invoke the right to be joined or accompanied by close family members. An EU citizen who moves to another Member State can take his close family members along, even if the latter are not EU citizens themselves; the same is true when the EU citizen later returns to his home Member State.

The family decided that they wanted to return to the UK. As indicated above, they can do so under EU law if certain conditions are met. This principle is called the Surinder Singh (SS) route for short and the principles now form part of UK law. Mrs Singh was a British citizen and was married and living in the UK with her non EU national husband. She moved with her husband to Germany to work. After about three months in Germany, her and her husband attempted to return to the UK and made an application for a family permit for her husband to enter the UK. This was refused by the British government. Mrs Singh appealed to the ECJ and won.

The Next Steps  

The principle from this decision is that there should be no barriers placed upon the rights of EU nationals to freely move about the EU. The case established that if Mrs Singh would have known she would not be able to return into the UK from Germany with her husband then she would not have moved to Germany in the first place.

Our client made their own application for a Family Permit for his Canadian wife on the basis of the SS principle. The British embassy in Dublin refused to issue the Family permit. They then instructed us on the matter. We advised on the law and requirements. We assisted with the compilation of the applicable evidence and we made a renewed application which was ultimately successful.