If you are thinking about moving with your family to the UK and you or your spouse have European ancestry, it is worth exploring whether you can make use of EEA free movement rights available to European nationals.

by Bruce Mennell | | Blog

If you are thinking about moving with your family to the UK and you or your spouse have European ancestry, it is worth exploring whether you can make use of EEA free movement rights available to European nationals.  European nationals are in a position of advantage compared to a British citizen when sponsoring a family member.

What is the difference?

This table summarises the difference between sponsoring a family member as an EEA national and as a British citizen.

EEA Nationals British Citizens
You can sponsor as a jobseeker. You cannot sponsor as a jobseeker.  You need a job offer at a minimum income level of £18,600 p.a. to sponsor most family members.
There is no minimum income requirement if you are in work.  You can rely on almost any kind of work, and can even sponsor if you have a low income because you work part-time, or are on benefits. There is a minimum income level of £18,600 p.a. to sponsor a partner.  You cannot sponsor if you need benefits to support yourself.
You can sponsor while you are setting up a business. Your business would need to be established and generating and income already before you can sponsor.
You can sponsor children until the age of 21, and after 21 if they remain your dependants. Children must be under 18.  In general, both parents must be coming to settle, unless the other parent is dead or the sponsoring parent has sole responsibility for that child.
You can sponsor your dependent parents and grandparents. It is very difficult to sponsor an elderly dependent relative.
You can sponsor if you are retired, provided you have enough resources to be self-sufficient and have comprehensive sickness insurance. Without an income, to sponsor your partner to come to the UK, you would need cash savings of £62,500.
If sponsoring a spouse, the genuineness of your marriage is not a consideration. The Home Office / ECO can refuse by saying that they do not believe your marriage is genuine and subsisting.
A full right of appeal is available and will remain available, ensuring you are protected. The Immigration Bill 2013 proposes to remove the right of appeal from applications under the rules.

Why are British citizens in a worse position?

The discrepancy arises from our membership of the European Union / EEA area.  EEA nationals and their family members are given rights of free movement directly by instruments (such as the Treaty of Rome) at a European level, and it is not within the discretion of the Home Secretary to amend these.  These rights become operative when an EEA national moves to another member state for work or other purposes, but don't usually apply when they stay in their home state.  By contrast, the Home Secretary has a wide discretion to change the immigration rules for non-EEA categories, and in an effort to bring net migration figures down, has made the conditions for family members more difficult to satisfy.

But I am not an EEA national?

If you have European ancestry, you may be a national of a European country without realising it.  Passportia specialises in nationality claims. If you have ancestral connections to Ireland or Germany, we can advise you on how to establish a claim to citizenship of these countries.  

Alexander Finch, Senior Adviser,
Passportia
©Passportia Limited


View all posts