According to recent reports from a UK newspaper, leaked government documents are suggesting that many EU immigration laws integrated into the UK immigration system will be phased out after Brexit. Causing particular concern amongst families is the potential abolishment of the Surinder Singh route – since its introduction after the court case of Surinder Singh, an Indian national who moved from Germany to the UK with his British wife, this route has been utilised by thousands of non-EU family members of British citizens to secure a UK visa and residency.
The Surinder Singh route permits non-EU family members of British citizens to circumvent strict UK immigration laws by applying under EU law – this option does not require an English test or proof of an income of £18,600, and is considerably cheaper to obtain as official Home Office fees do not need to be paid.
An application for a Residence Card with a 5-year validity also represents a saving for non-EU family members wishing to stay in-country on a long-term basis; UK immigration rules under Appendix FM would require application for a FLR(M) visa with a 2.5 year validity, followed by an extension for an additional 2.5 years with the two corresponding sets of fees required. The FLR(M) can cost up to £1000 while a Residence Card is currently only £85.
Although there are several restrictions to consider, thousands of families have utilised the Surinder Singh route to reside together in the UK. Terminating this option is likely to cause considerable uncertainty for those currently in-country – many will need to explore alternatives or risk losing their residency by 2019 in the event that Surinder Singh is abolished.
Brexit talks are scheduled to resume this October, and immigration will be the central part of any deal – until then, our immigration experts will be keeping a close eye on the speculation and discussion. If you want to explore potential alternative options, please get in touch with Mauve via the Contact Form.