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|Is UK handling of EEA Family Permit visas still a problem?
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|Author:||wiz [ 10 Aug 2014 20:30 ]|
|Post subject:||Is UK handling of EEA Family Permit visas still a problem?|
Is UK handling of EEA Family Permit visas still a problem?
In the past, British embassy handling of EEA Family Permit visas has systematically violated EU Law, even in the straight forward cases.
The problems are detailed in the Oct 2012
complaint to the European Commission CHAP(2012)3146.
The executive summary of the complaint (reproduced below) highlights some of the problems encountered by married couples applying for an EEA Family Permit. The full complaint has significantly more detail.
I need your assistance: Are problems handling EEA Family Permit visas at British embassies, as outlined in the complaint, continuing?
Comment on this post if you have examples of more recent problems involving married couples. Links and details would be very helpful.
From the complaint: ….
Executive Summary [from CHAP(2012)3146]
The UK is systematically violating EU free movement law, by refusing family member visas for reasons that are explicitly prohibited by Directive 2004/38/EC and relevant ECJ case law:
UKBA’s guidance, training material, and day-to-day administrative practice lead to a consistent and ongoing breach of the Directive in a ways directly precluded by established free movement case law.
Material released by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in response to Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests show that their officers are being actively trained to evaluate & refuse applications in ways which are unambiguously in violation of EU free movement law.
The impact is large. The UKBA refused 4,500 EEA FP applications in 2011, approximately 20% of all applications, with some visa offices rejecting more than 50%. The dismal quality of the refusals, documented in the following sections, suggests that a very large number of these were incorrectly refused. This amounts to a substantial impediment to the free movement rights of each of the EU citizens involved.
In none of the cases would UKBA dare to directly block the EU citizen from directly entering the UK. Instead they are using the family member’s visa application to achieve the same effect.
Article from: freedom of movement in the EU
|Author:||wiz [ 17 Apr 2015 11:58 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Is UK handling of EEA Family Permit visas still a proble|
Unlawful UK fees for EEA Residence Cards?
In April 2013, the Home Office started charging £55 to issue a 5 year EU/EEA Residence Card. A few days ago, the fee rose to £84.20 (consisting of the base £65 fee and the required statutory biometrics/fingerprinting charge of £19.20).
The UK can charge for Residence Cards, Permanent Residence Cards and EU citizen registration, but Article 25(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC requires that they may not charge more than what is charged for “similar documents” issued to British citizens.
It is hard to identify any document issued to British citizens which costs more than £84.
If the Residence Card fee is higher than the similar documents, then it is an unlawful fee, which has recently been paid by more than 100,000 applicants.
Lets look more deeply, in case we have missed something.
What is a Residence Card really?
One can ask what functions or access a 5 year Residence Card gives you:
It is worth remembering that in EU law, the family member of an EU citizen already has a right of free movement based solely on their relationship with the EU citizen who is exercising free movement rights. So an application for a Residence Card (or PR card) does not itself create any rights. The card is merely a confirmation of the already existing rights of the applicant.
The British government says they do not “require” family members get a Residence Card, but in reality family members of EU citizens have no other government approved way to prove their “already existing” right to work, to travel to the UK, or to open a bank account. (Family members are separately required to have a passport from their country of origin, for travel and for ID purposes)
How might we assess “similar documents”?
A European Commission letter from Françoise Le Bail to the Home Office provides criteria for choosing a similar British-issued document:
Which British documents might be “similar”?
The current £84.20 fee for the UK issued 5 year EEA Residence Card is higher than all the “similar documents”, even though many of the British documents are valid for 10 years. A long-form birth certificate (costs £4 with no expiry) is the most common British document with similar function. It can be used to prove right to work, and most British citizens have one.
The Home Office refuses to release details of how they evaluated “similar documents”
European Commission was reasonable in saying “compliance of your plans with EU law can be assessed only on the basis of proper justification and in-depth analysis addressing the above issues”.
FOI requests for that analysis have been refused by Home Office (See the www.whatdotheyknow.com request for details). It is unclear what analysis was actually completed, whether the analysis undercuts the lawfulness of the fees actually set, or whether the analysis might embarrass the government in some other way.
The 2013 announcement of the fees says only:
It is very curious that a British Nationality Status Letter is presented as a similar document. It is so rarely issued to British citizens and its most interesting characteristic seems to be high fee. It is worth considering why was the Status Letter was even mentioned!
Even a rudimentary analysis shows the Residence Card fee is unlawful, simply because it is more expensive than all similar British documents. The Home Office is obviously concerned about the legality of their fee, and is withholding whatever analysis they may have done before enacting the legislation.
The fees for “EU citizen registration” also significantly exceed those of similar British documents. One could argue that this is a functionless registration, as it gives the EU citizen nothing useful beyond what they get with their ID card or passport. A “similar document” is possibly a library card, which is generally issued at no cost.
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