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Home Office Guidance on the “centre of life test” in Surinder Singh cases

The Home Office has published a new guidance on the amended EEA Regulations addressing the changes affecting family members of British citizens who had engaged their EU rights by working in another member state of the European Union.

The Regulations were amended with effect from 1 January 2014 making it more difficult for family members of UK citizens to benefit from EU law (you can read related news post and our comments in Surinder Singh blog post). Specifically, the Regulations now require to demonstrate that the British citizen has moved “centre of life” to another EU member state before qualifying to rely on EU rules in order to bring his or her family members to the UK.

The new guidance, which has been made available in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, sets out the expectations of the Home Office behind the rather empty “centre of life” formula.

The Home Office has confirmed that there will be no set minimum requirement for the time spent in another member state, however the longer the time outside Britain, is the more likely “centre of life” has shifted.

The degree of integration will be assessed taking into account many factors. The examples chosen by the Home Office are as follows:

• Does the British citizen have any children born in the host member state? If so, are the children attending schools in the host member state?

• Does the British citizen have any other family members resident in the host member state?

• Has the British citizen immersed themselves into the life and culture of the host member state? For example, have they bought property there? Do they speak the language? Are they involved with the local community?

Home Office “training slides”

European Operational Policy Team Guidance on Regulation 9 (Surinder Singh Cases) February 2014

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