Changes to the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 - UK

18 November 2016

The new Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (the “Regulations”) will come into force on 1 February 2017, subject to transitional arrangements, with the exception of the new regulations in respect of family members of British nationals which come into force on 25 November 2016.

The key changes are as follows:

  • A new definition of civil partnerships, marriages and durable partnerships of convenience which were not included in the EEA Regulations 2006.  
  • “Durable partnerships of convenience” have been defined to include a durable partnership entered into to circumvent immigration requirements or allow an individual to benefit from the EEA regulations.  
  • Definition of “EEA national” has been clarified to mean a national of an EEA state who is not also a British national.  
  • Introduction of a new Regulation which applies to British citizens who have lived in another EEA State with a non-EEA family member to address the “Surinder Singh” scenario. The new Regulation states that residence in the EEA State must have been “genuine” and not have been in order to circumvent the more restrictive regulations for spouses of British citizens under the UK Immigration rules. This change will affect all applications made after 25 November 2016.  
  • New requirement for EEA applications to be made on a prescribed form  

What this means for you as an employer?

There are no substantive changes to the key requirements for qualified persons (e.g workers) wishing to make applications under the EEA regulations. There will therefore be little change for your EEA population in terms of the documentation required to make an application for a a Registration Certificate or Permanent Residence.

The real changes relate to applications made by non-EEA dependants. The introduction of the “genuineness requirement” in respect of a move outside the UK for non-EEA family members of British nationals and, the definition of a marriage of convenience, signal a more restrictive approach as regards review of applications made by family members of EEA nationals.    

The Regulations do not set out what kinds of evidence UKVI would want to see in order to establish a genuine relationship or genuine move. Therefore all applications made on this basis will require careful analysis. PwC will provide detailed guidance  in the instances  where the test applies to ensure that the chances of a successful application outcome are maximised.

Other changes, such as the requirement for the application to be made on a prescribed form, brings EEA applications in line with all other immigration applications made under the domestic rules.     

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