To bring a partner or spouse in the UK, British citizens have to show income of at least £18,600 or more if they have children – rule which does not apply to settled Europeans living in the UK.
Under European law, EU nationals living in the UK are allowed to bring in spouses or partners and their families from anywhere in the world, according to their country of origin immigration rules.
But for British citizens who want to bring in a husband, wife or partner and family from abroad, they must first show they have an income of £18,600 or more.
This rule was implemented in 2012 as to guarantee that dependants dot not become a burden on the UK taxpayer. Since then, many british have chosen to bypass these new rules by going to work and live in another EU country, and from there bring their spouse or partner.
This method, known as the Surinder Singh route, involves leaving the UK and working in the EEA for about three months.
Exercising their rights under European freedom of movement, British citizens working in another country of the EU get their European citizen status taking priority over their status as a UK citizen.
This means that upon return to the UK, a British citizen is allowed to bring his/her Non-EEA spouse without having to meet the £18,600 minimum earnings requirement which applies to Britons.
Colin produced an e-book full of hints and tips are on how to avoid problems with this route for members of the public exploring their options and for lawyers practicing in this field.
Each year around 20,000 non-European family members come into the UK this way.