Surinder Singh – alternative to the UK Family Migration Route

Since the introduction of the new UK family migration rules in July 2012, thousands of families have been torn and kept apart, as they do not qualify under the new minimum income threshold requirement.

Currently, everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of the judgement on the appeal, lodged by the UK Home Office. The appeal was heard in March 2014, and judgement is being awaited. In the meantime, all family migration applications that do not fulfil the minimum income threshold requirement is being ‘put on hold’ by the UK Home Office.

Whatever the outcome of judgement, it will unfortunately not stop the UK Home Office from amending the rules again.

However, there is an alternative route for families currently residing in another EU member state. This route is called the Surinder Singh route named after the case law that established this precedent – R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Surinder Sing ex parte Secretary of State for the Home Department.

In short, the Surinder Singh route entails that the EU partner must exercise his/her EU treaty rights(by working, being self employed, self sufficient or a student for example) and live anywhere in the European Economic Area with his/her non-EU partner for a period of at least three months. After exercising this EEA citizenship right, the family can gain access to the UK, as they are then covered by European law.

There would thus be no need to apply under the UK family migration rules, and the family will only need to apply for the EEA family permit, which does not require a minimum income threshold.

It is important to note that there are important requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to qualify under this Surinder Singh route. There has also since been new case law on the issue. BIC therefore strongly advise any family thinking of taking the Surinder Singh route, to first seek immigration advice from an expert.

Contact BIC today for a consultation on the Surinder Singh route.