EU citizens who become British will keep family immigration rights, court rules


Landmark ruling

In a landmark ruling which could have widespread implications for EU citizens applying for British passports and those married or considering marriage to a third-country national, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled today that EU citizens who become British do not lose the right to bring a foreign-born spouse to the UK.

The case came to light after UK authorities were trying to deport a man whose wife had dual Spanish and British nationality. London’s High Court asked the judges for clarification of how EU law applied to the Algerian man living in the UK with his wife.

The judges said the man had a “derived” right of residence through his wife. After a five-month deliberation it has decided the Home Office was wrong to refuse a dual British-Spanish citizen the right to have her Algerian husband live with her in Britain.

The ECJ ruled today that the woman retained the right, under EU law, to a family life, and specifically, to have her husband live with her even if he was from a third country.