The home office drops the “center of life” requirement in instances involving Surinder Singh

The Home Office revised its Surinder Singh case guidance to eliminate all mention of a “centre of life” examination. This comes after the ruling by the Upper Tribunal in the matter of ZA (Reg 9. EEA Regs; Abuse of Rights) Afghanistan [2019] UKUT 281 (IAC) that the test was fabricated nonsense that was incompatible with EU law.

Bypassing the stringent guidelines on UK family visas that are applicable to those who have not exercised their right to free movement, the Surinder Singh immigration route enables British nationals who have relocated to another EU country to return with non-EU family members. Since 2014, the Home Office has requested evidence that British nationals attempting to use Surinder Singh have moved because it has long detested what it views as a backdoor.

With the Upper Tribunal finally saying so explicitly, the Home Office has bowed to reality and stripped the centre of life test from its decision-making manual. The document now states:

Any previous references to a ‘centre of life’ requirement are no longer relevant following the determination in the case of ZA (Afghanistan) (UKUT 281 2019).

The precise legal status of the Surinder Singh route now that the UK is no longer formally a member of the European Union is complicated, to say the least. But for the time being it remains open and can be applied for via the EU Settlement Scheme.

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