Surinder Singh guide
Free movement rights afforded by European regulations are a saviour for British citizens with non-EEA family members who find Home Office’s interference grossly disruptive. Surinder Singh is an extension of these rights whereby Brits move to another Member State with their non-EEA family, to then live together in the UK, under EEA regulations rather than UK immigration rules.
If followed in accordance with regulations and Home Office interpretation of the regulations, the Surinder Singh route can be favourable, incurring negligible visa and legal fees, no language tests to pass, nil financial requirements, and no intrusive five year probationary period. Non-EEA family members also have recourse to public funds. This is in stark contrast to those falling under UK immigration rules.
Despite the obvious advantages, exercise of free movement rights, even where the intention may be to return to the UK, is not a decision made lightly. Relocating is expensive and inconvenient, especially when there are kids, elderly or disabled involved. Where someone has a secure job in the UK, albeit one paying less than £18,600, the decision is even more difficult and uncertain for the family’s financial security, with added concern over obtaining work in another country, finding housing, managing school admissions and going through all that again on return to the UK. Surinder Singh is also not an option for residents and refugees, nor does it help citizens unable to leave the UK because of financial or family obligations.
So while it provides hope for some families, Surinder Singh is by no means a permanent solution for divisive domestic family immigration rules.
BritCits will therefore continue to campaign for fair family immigration rules in the UK. However, alongside the campaigning our aim is to help at least some families who whilst being unfortunate to be impacted by UK’s immigration rules, are lucky enough to be able to use Surinder Singh.
Some who started the process with the intention to use Surinder Singh to return to the UK fell in love with their adopted home and now have no intention to return. While most of you will be itching to start your life in the UK as a family, I urge you to treat living in another country as a fun adventure – make the most of the new culture, language, environment you find yourself in, even if it is just a means to an end. Leave your adopted home with fond memories.
I hope this guide providing practical tips and an overview of the process, makes exercising free movement rights smoother, by allowing readers to benefit from the experience of others who have already forged the path, and sharing things they wish they’d known when they embarked on the journey themselves.