Zambrano EUSS Primary Carers “New” Guidance: Akinsanya and Velaj

“The Home Secretary has carefully considered the Court of Appeal judgment and has decided that she no longer wishes that definition in Appendix EU to reflect the scope of the 2016 Regulations (which have now been revoked) but wishes it to reflect the scope of those who, by the end of the transition period, had an EU law right to reside in the UK as a Zambrano primary carer, in line with the originally stated policy intention. She therefore intends to maintain the requirement in sub-paragraph (b) of the definition that the applicant did not, by the end of the transition period and during the relevant period relied upon, have leave to enter or remain in the UK (unless this was under the EUSS).

This means applications will be considered under the existing Immigration Rules for the EUSS in Appendix EU. Applicants will be eligible for EUSS status in this category where, by the end of the transition period and during the relevant period relied upon, they met the relevant requirements of regulation 16 of the 2016 Regulations and did not have leave to enter or remain in the UK (unless this was under the EUSS).

From today, for a period of six weeks until 25 July 2022, people will be able to apply or re-apply to the EUSS as a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ and be deemed to have reasonable grounds for having missed the deadline to apply, which was 30 June 2021.

Where a person applies after 25 July 2022, they will need to show there are reasonable grounds why they missed the 30 June 2021 deadline. You can find non-exhaustive examples of such grounds at www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/eligibility”.

Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment in the case of R(Akinsanya) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 37[2022] 2 WLR 681, the Home Office have now reconsidered the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) requirements for applicants relying on being a Zambrano primary carer and published their Guidance as above on 13 June 2022.

Akinsanya was previously considered in previous blog posts:

Akinsanya litigation: Court of Appeals decides Zambrano Primary Carers of British citizen children with limited leave are covered by the EEA Regulations – UK Immigration Justice Watch Blog

Primary Carers of British citizens: The Akinsanya litigation and persons with a Zambrano right to reside – UK Immigration Justice Watch Blog

Two weeks prior to publication of the “new” Guidance, the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Velaj v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 767 (31 May 2022) was notified.

The judgement is considered here: https://ukimmigrationjusticewatch.com/2022/06/27/court-of-appeal-and-reg-165c-akinsanya-does-not-address-question-whether-the-british-citizen-dependant-would-be-unable-to-reside-in-the-uk/

In Velaj, the Court was clear that in Akinsanya, that Appellant’s case on Regulation 16 was entirely focused upon Regulation 16(7). Regulation 16(7) defines an “exempt person” for the purposes of Regulation 16(1)(a). The categories of exempt persons include British Citizens, and persons with Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”). Akinsanya contended that persons with limited leave are not exempt persons and by virtue of paragraph 1(b) are entitled to a derivative right to reside, alongside their leave to remain.

Whether Ms Akinsanya could satisfy the criteria in Regulation 16(5) if she had leave to remain under some other provision of domestic law did not directly arise, and it was not something which the Court considered on her appeal.

As per paragraph 65 of Velaj:

“In Akinsanya this court was not required to consider, and did not consider, the requirements of Regulation 16(5) and how 16(5)(c) might be satisfied in practice by a primary carer who had limited leave to remain. The only issue it had to determine was whether Regulation 16(7) acted as a threshold barrier precluding someone like Ms Akinsanya from asserting that she had a derivative right of residence under Regulation 16(5) (or its predecessor) which had survived the subsequent grant to her of limited leave to remain”.

The Court in Velaj therefore in essence sought to interpret the phrases contained in Regulation 16(5)(c):

  • “unable to reside in the United Kingdom”
  • “If the person left the United Kingdom for an indefinite period”

The reasoning in Velaj requires consideration that even if Ms Akinsanya was able to convince the Court of Appeal that she was not an exempt person and so  entitled to a derivative right to reside alongside her leave to remain, the question would still remain: assumptions  aside and holding leave to remain under the Rules, whether in practice, her British citizen child would be unable to remain in the UK, or an EEA Member State or Switzerland, if she was in fact required to leave the UK for an indefinite period.

The Home Office would have been aware of the effect of Velaj when formulating their Guidance.

As matters stand, does the Secretary of State’s position as reflected in the Guidance of 13 June 2022 mean:

  • Individuals with leave to remain who applied as aperson with a Zambrano right to reside’ from June 2021 onwards are bound to have their applications refused?
  • There is no point applying as a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ for those with leave to remain but yet to do so?

In light of the “new” Guidance, a person with leave to remain applying as a “person with a Zambrano right to reside” would face difficulty having regard to the Home Office’s main Guidance on Zambrano EUSS Carers:

“Initial eligibility requirements

To be considered eligible for indefinite leave to enter or remain or limited leave to enter or remain under Appendix EU as a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ (or, as the case may be, in relying on past residence as such a person before moving into – and since remaining in – any, or any combination, of the other categories to which the definition of a ‘person who had a derivative or Zambrano right to reside’ refers), the applicant both:

  • must not be and for the relevant period have not been (or, as the case may be, for the relevant period they were not) an ‘exempt person’ under regulation 16(1)(a) of the EEA Regulations
  • must not have and for the relevant period must not have had (or, as the case may be, for the relevant period they did not have) leave to enter or remain in the UK granted, unless this was granted under Appendix EU

……………..

Leave to enter or remain in the UK, other than leave granted under Appendix EU

A Zambrano right to reside is only available to a person who has no other lawful basis of stay in the UK as the primary carer of a dependent British citizen, or as a dependant of that primary carer. In the case of Akinsanya v the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) [2022] EWCA Civ 37 (25 January 2022), the Court of Appeal found that, as a matter of EU law, a Zambrano right to reside does not arise where a person holds leave to remain, but that regulation 16(7) of the EEA Regulations did not exclude holders of limited leave to remain.

…………

To qualify as a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ under Annex 1 to Appendix EU, the applicant must meet the requirements of that definition by the specified date (normally, 2300 GMT on 31 December 2020) and for the relevant period relied upon. This means in particular that they must not have held leave to enter or remain in the UK under another part of the Immigration Rules, or outside the Rules, at the specified date or for that period.

If the applicant does (or for the relevant period did) have leave to enter or remain in the UK, other than leave granted under Appendix EU, then you must, based on the information available to you, consider their eligibility for leave under the other eligibility requirements in rule EU11 (and, where relevant, EU12) and EU14 of Appendix EU, see: EU Settlement Scheme: EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members.

If they do not meet any other eligibility requirements for leave under the scheme, then you must refuse the application under rule EU6, without going on to consider the other eligibility stages in this guidance”.

Affected individuals whose leave to remain was due to expire prior to receiving decisions on their outstanding Zambrano EUSS application would most likely have timely applied for further leave to remain. Those who are yet to do so, should seriously consider doing so.

Court of Appeal and Reg 16(5)(c): Akinsanya does not address question whether the British Citizen dependant would be unable to reside in the UK

The correct interpretation of Regulation 16(5)(c) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (“the 2016 Regulations”), was in issue in Velaj v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 767 (31 May 2022)

The two judgements of the Court of Appeal in Velaj and R(Akinsanya) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 37[2022] 2 WLR 681 address different issues.

Relevantly, Regulation 16(5)(c), with which Velaj was concerned with, requires regard to be had to whether the relevant dependant British citizen would be unable to reside in the United Kingdom or in another EEA State if the primary carer left the United Kingdom for an indefinite period.

In Velaj, the Court was clear that in Akinsanya, that Appellant’s case on Regulation 16 was entirely focused upon Regulation 16(7). Regulation 16(7) defines an “exempt person” for the purposes of Regulation 16(1)(a). The categories of exempt persons include British Citizens, and persons with Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”).   Akinsanya contended that persons with limited leave are not exempt persons and by virtue of paragraph 1(b) are entitled to a derivative right to reside, alongside their leave to remain.

Whether Ms Akinsanya could satisfy the criteria in Regulation 16(5) if she had leave to remain under some other provision of domestic law did not directly arise, and it was not something which the Court considered on her appeal.

As per paragraph 65 of Velaj:

“In Akinsanya this court was not required to consider, and did not consider, the requirements of Regulation 16(5) and how 16(5)(c) might be satisfied in practice by a primary carer who had limited leave to remain. The only issue it had to determine was whether Regulation 16(7) acted as a threshold barrier precluding someone like Ms Akinsanya from asserting that she had a derivative right of residence under Regulation 16(5) (or its predecessor) which had survived the subsequent grant to her of limited leave to remain”.

The Court in Valej therefore in essence sought to interpret the phrases contained in Regulation 16(5)(c):

  • “unable to reside in the United Kingdom”
  • “If the person left the United Kingdom for an indefinite period”

Summary Background:

The Appellant, a Kosovan national, subject to  deportation proceedings under s.32(5) of the UK Borders Act 2007, had his appeal allowed by the First Tier Tribunal(FTT) on the  basis his British son would be unable to reside in the UK or another EEA state if both his parents( the child’s British mother with whom the Appellant was in a relationship with) left the UK for an indefinite period and consequently the Appellant had a derivative right of residence under Regulation 16(5).

On the Secretary of State’s appeal, the Upper Tribunal set aside the decision of the FTT for a material error of law. Having concluded that the Appellant did not have a derivative right of residence, the Upper Tribunal re-made the decision on his appeal against the refusal of his human rights claim, accepted that Mrs Velaj would not go to live in Kosovo and found that it would not be reasonable to expect her to do so. The Upper Tribunal concluded that, although the effects of the Appellant’s deportation would be harsh on the family and indeed distressing, given the gravity of the Appellant’s offending it was nonetheless proportionate. The Appellant’s appeal was dismissed in the Upper Tribunal.

Provisions in issue:

Regulation 16 provides that a person has a derivative right to reside during any period in which the person is not an exempt person and satisfies each of the criteria in one or more of paragraphs (2) to (6).

Relevantly, Regulation 16(5) sets out that the criteria in the paragraph are that –

(a) the person is the primary carer of a British Citizen (“BC”)

(b) BC is residing in the United Kingdom; and

(c) BC would be unable to reside in the United Kingdom or in another EEA State if the person left the United Kingdom for an indefinite period

In Regulation 16(8), a person is the “primary carer” of another person (“AP”) if-

(a) the person is a direct relative or a legal guardian of AP and (b) either –

(i) the person has primary responsibility for AP’s care; or

(ii) shares equally the responsibility for AP’s care with one other person

Regulation 16(5) is concerned with the rights established by the decision of the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in Ruiz Zambrano Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (Case C-34/09) [2012] QB 265, (“Zambrano”) as subsequently re-stated and developed in Chavez-Vilchez v Raad van Bestuur van de Sociale Verzekeringsbank (Case C-133/15) [2018] QB 103 (“Chavez-Vilchez“).

As per Regulation 16(9), “In paragraph … 5(c), if the role of primary carer is shared with another person in accordance with paragraph 8(b)(ii) the words “the person” are to be read as “both primary carers.”

Regulation 16(7) defines an “exempt person” for the purposes of Regulation 16(1)(a). The categories of exempt persons include British Citizens, and persons with Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”).

Regulation 16(12) provides that a derivative right to reside will not arise where decisions are made to remove or exclude the primary carer on grounds of public policy, public security or public health or misuse of rights.

The 2016 Regulations ceased to have effect, save for certain transitional purposes, on 31 December 2020.

Relevant caselaw:

The principles arising in the following caselaw( CJEU and domestic), were considered by the Court in Velaj:

  • Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi(Case C-34/09) [2012] QB 265, (“Zambrano”) :- Zambrano concerned a family living in Belgium: the parents were third country nationals of Colombia. Two of their children were Belgian citizens, and therefore citizens of the EU by virtue of Art 20 of the TFEU. The CJEU held that Art 20 of the TFEU precludes national measures which have the effect of depriving EU citizens of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights conferred upon them by virtue of their status as EU citizens. Unless the father, who was the family breadwinner, enjoyed the right to live and work in Belgium, he and his wife would have to leave the EU, and the children would in practice have to leave with their parents, which would deprive them of the substance of their rights as EU citizens under Articles 20 and 21.
  • Chavez-Vilchez v Raad van Bestuur van de Sociale Verzekeringsbank (Case C-133/15) [2018] QB 103(“Chavez-Vilchez“):- Chavez-Vilchez concerned EU citizen children who were living with their third country national mothers in the Netherlands. The fathers, from whom the mothers were separated, were Dutch nationals, who provided the children with varying degrees of support. The Dutch authorities had held that the mothers were not entitled to Zambrano rights (including certain state benefits) unless they could show that the fathers were unable to care for the children. The CJEU held that this approach was too simplistic. The fact that the other parent, who was an EU citizen, was willing to assume sole responsibility for the primary care of the EU citizen child was a relevant factor, but it was not sufficient, in and of itself, to conclude that there was not such a degree of dependency between the child and the third country national parent that the child would be compelled to leave the EU if that parent were denied a right of residence. In deciding whether the child would be compelled to leave, account had to be taken of all the specific circumstances, including the age of the child, their physical and emotional development, their emotional ties to each parent and the risks to the child’s well-being that separation from the third country national parent would entail.
  • Patel v Secretary of State for the Home Department[2020] 1 WLR 228 :-  the Court described the reasoning underpinning the Zambrano jurisprudence at [22]: “What lies at the heart of the Zambrano jurisprudence is the requirement that the Union citizen would be compelled to leave Union territory if the TCN [third country national], with whom the Union citizen has a relationship of dependency, is removed.” Lady Arden also observed at [30] that: “The test of compulsion is … a practical test to be applied to the actual facts and not to a theoretical set of facts.”
  • R(Akinsanya) v Secretary of State for the Home Department[2022] EWCA Civ 37[2022] 2 WLR 681, (“Akinsanya”) :- The claimant in Akinsanya was a national of Nigeria who was the sole primary carer for a British Citizen child. She was initially issued with a 5 year residence card as a Zambrano carer, but she was subsequently granted 30 months’ leave to remain in the UK under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. She then made an application for ILR under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”). She contended that she met the criteria for ILR set out in Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules because she was a person who had a Zambrano right to reside and she had completed the requisite continuous qualifying period of five years. The Secretary of State argued that Ms Akinsanya did not qualify under the EUSS because Annex 1 to Appendix EU defined “a person with a Zambrano right to reside” as excluding persons who had leave to enter or remain in the UK unless it had been granted under Appendix EU itself. It was contended on Mrs Akinsanya’s behalf that the definition in limb (b) of Annex 1 to Appendix EU did not properly reflect the Zambrano jurisprudence (Ground 1) and/or it did not properly reflect the language of Regulation 16 of the 2016 Regulations (Ground 2). It was argued that there was nothing in Regulation 16 which precluded someone with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK from acquiring (or keeping) derivative rights under that Regulation.As per Underhill LJ in Akinsanya at  paragraphs 33 to 36 the issue, was whether the Secretary of State had, in formulating the Annex 1 definition, erred in her understanding of (a) the Zambrano jurisprudence and (b) Regulation 16 of the EEA Regulations, by proceeding on the basis that a Zambrano right did not arise in circumstances where the carer had any form of leave to enter or remain. If the Secretary of State was wrong about that, it was agreed that the impugned decision would have to be quashed.The Court in Akinsanya found for the Secretary of State on the first issue. After analysing the Zambrano jurisprudence, including Iida v Stadt Ulm (Case C-40/11) [2011] Fam 121 and Secretary of State for the Home Department v A (Case C-115/15) [2017] QB 109, Underhill LJ concluded that as a matter of EU law, a Zambrano right is a right of last resort which does not arise if the third-country national carer otherwise enjoys a right under domestic law to reside in the member state in question.However, the conclusion that the definition in Annex 1 to Appendix EU did accurately reflect the Zambrano jurisprudence was not the end of the matter. As Underhill LJ explained at paragraph 57 in Akinsanya, it was unclear whether in framing that definition the Secretary of State intended to restrict rights under the EUSS to people whose rights to reside at the relevant dates directly depended on Zambrano, or whether her intention was to extend those rights to “all those carers whose removal would result in an EU citizen dependant having to leave the UK”. The Court could not, and was not required to, explore the Secretary of State’s purpose in framing the definition because it accepted Ms Akinsanya’s case on the construction of Regulation 16.

The issue in Velaj:

In Velaj, the appeal concerned the correct interpretation of Regulation 16(5)(c) of the 2016 Regulations which defines the circumstances in which a third country national who is the primary carer of a British Citizen has a derivative right to reside in the UK.

The issue which arose in the  appeal was whether a person deciding whether the requirements of Regulation 16(5)(c) are fulfilled must consider whether the British Citizen dependant would be unable to reside in the UK on the assumption that the primary carer (or both primary carers, as the case may be) will leave the UK for an indefinite period (irrespective of whether the assumption is correct); or whether the decision-maker must consider what the impact on the British Citizen would be if in fact the primary carer (or both primary carers) would leave the UK for an indefinite period.

The Court of Appeal considered that it was common ground that the Appellant would not qualify for a Zambrano right under the European jurisprudence because as a matter of fact, his son would not be compelled to leave the EU if he were denied a derivative right of residence. He would be able to stay in the UK with his British Citizen mother, who shared primary caring responsibilities with his father and who would not leave the UK if he were returned to Kosovo. It was also common ground that until the amendments were made by the 2018 Regulations, Mr Velaj would not have qualified as a “primary carer” because his wife, being a British Citizen, was an exempt person.

The Appellant’s case turned on the proposition that, on the true construction of Regulation 16(5) of the 2016 Regulations, he acquired rights under domestic law which go further than the minimum rights guaranteed to Zambrano carers under EU law.

Court of Appeal’s considerations and conclusions on the issues:

The Court of Appeal’s considerations included the following:

  • It was not accepted that Regulation 16(5)(c), as modified by Regulation 16(8) and (9), admits of only one interpretation.
  • The focus is on whether the British Citizen dependant would be “unable” to remain in the UK “if” something happens – i.e. on what will happen to the child if the primary carer leaves (or both primary carers leave). In that context the word “if” requires the decision maker to consider the position of the child on the basis that something is (actually) going to happen. It does not require that premise to be purely hypothetical, let alone counterfactual. Given that the person asking themselves the question has to decide what in practice would happen to the child if that event occurred, it would make little sense to require them to make an assumption that the event will happen if it plainly will not.
  • “If the person left the UK for an indefinite period” could either mean “in the event that the person [in fact] left the UK for an indefinite period” or “on the hypothesis that the person will leave the UK for an indefinite period (regardless of whether in fact he would do so)”. The former seemed to the Court to be the more natural interpretation, and carried with it the necessary implication that the postulated event (here, leaving the UK) is realistic, and not just theoretical. A purely hypothetical event could have no impact, in practice, on the ability of the child or other British Citizen dependant to remain in the UK.
  • It is clear from Chavez-Vilchez and Patel that the question whether the dependant EU citizen would be “unable to reside in the UK” depends on a fact-specific inquiry.  It requires a nuanced analysis of inability, and not a simple analysis of a hypothetical question, and that must mean that the decision-maker is looking at what is likely to happen in reality. The “key issue of inability to reside in the United Kingdom requires detailed consideration and a causal link with the departure of both carers”.
  • That interpretation is also consistent with the stated intention to give effect to Zambrano rights, whereas the rival interpretation would confer a new species of purely domestic derivative rights on someone who would never meet the Zambrano test (or the test in Chen or Ibrahim or Teixeira), in circumstances where the departure of that person from the UK would in practice have no effect at all upon the ability of the British Citizen dependant to remain in the UK. The question whether the legislator is likely to have intended this consequence admits of only one answer in the present case, and that is no.
  • Requiring the decision maker to assume that both primary carers will leave the UK when one of them will undoubtedly stay behind also precludes the type of nuanced inquiry that was envisaged in Chavez-Vilchez.
  • Assuming that “required to leave” is given a wider meaning than “legally compelled” in line with Zambrano itself that means “in the event that P will be forced to leave the UK”. The decision-maker is looking at the likely impact upon the child of the primary carer being forced by law or by economic pressure to leave the UK. It presupposes that on the facts of the specific case, this is a realistic hypothesis.
  • In the Court’s judgment there was nothing in the decision in Akinsanya which precluded the Court in Valej from adopting that construction of Regulation 16(5)(c).

The ratio in Akinsanya- understanding what the case was about:

Velaj is clear:

“59.It is important to understand what that case was. It is set out at [59] of the judgment in Akinsanya:

“the claimant’s case is that limb (b) of the Annex 1 definition is inconsistent with the definition of “exempt person” in regulation 16 (7). Head (iv) of that definition covers a person “who has indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom”; but it says nothing about persons with only limited leave. The claimant contends that persons with limited leave are accordingly not exempt persons and by virtue of paragraph 1(b) are entitled to a derivative right to reside, alongside their leave to remain, so long as they satisfy the criteria under one of paragraphs (2)–(6).” [Emphasis added].

60.Thus Ms Akinsanya’s case on Regulation 16 was entirely focused upon Regulation 16(7). She accepted that if she was not exempt, her entitlement to a derivative right to reside would depend on her being able to satisfy the criteria in Regulation 16(5). However the question whether she could or could not do so if she had leave to remain under some other provision of domestic law did not directly arise, and it was not something which this Court considered on her appeal”.

In Velaj, the Court observed that Ms Akinsanya had already satisfied those criteria and obtained her derivative rights of residence as a Zambrano carer before she was granted limited leave to remain. She met the requirements of Regulation 16(5)(c) or its predecessor, Regulation 15A(4A), at the time when she was granted her derivative right of residence. The only question in her case would be whether the grant of limited leave to remain somehow superseded her Zambrano right or meant that she was no longer entitled to it – she was contending that it did not because the two rights could co-exist. It was common ground that if she won on either of her grounds of appeal, the impugned decision to refuse her claim under the EUSS (on the basis that she did not qualify) would have to be reconsidered by the Secretary of State.

As Underhill LJ pointed out at paragraph 60 in Akinsanya, the claimant’s case was clearly right on any natural reading of Regulation 16(7), and it also reflected the understanding of the Home Office at the time when the Amendment Regulations, which introduced the concept of “exempt persons” were made. Guidance issued to UK Border Agency staff in 2012 stated that: “where someone has limited leave (and so is not listed as one of the exempt categories above) and can demonstrate that they meet all other requirements of regulation 15A, then they can acquire a derivative right of residence.”

The focus of the argument thereafter was on whether Regulation 16(7) should be given a construction that was different from its ordinary and natural meaning.

The Court in Velaj set out what the ratio was in Akinsanya:

“64.Whilst accepting the likelihood that in making the relevant parts of Regulation 16 the SSHD intended, in a broad sense, to do no more than to implement the minimum requirements of Zambrano, Underhill LJ said that this begged further questions. The SSHD may have misunderstood what those requirements were, since Iida and A had not been decided when the Amendment Regulations were made in 2012. Alternatively,

“it may be that the Secretary of State took the view that allowing a Zambrano right to reside to those who already had limited leave to remain was more straightforward than having to consider whether particular forms of leave to remain, and in particular the conditions about working to which they might be subject, were fully consistent with Zambrano rights.”

In the end, however, he said that the short answer was that the language of Regulation 16(7)(c)(iv) [which referred specifically to persons with ILR] was simply too clear to allow it to be construed as covering persons with limited leave to remain. That was the ratio of the decision in Akinsanya”.

Velaj emphasises;

“65.In Akinsanya this court was not required to consider, and did not consider, the requirements of Regulation 16(5) and how 16(5)(c) might be satisfied in practice by a primary carer who had limited leave to remain. The only issue it had to determine was whether Regulation 16(7) acted as a threshold barrier precluding someone like Ms Akinsanya from asserting that she had a derivative right of residence under Regulation 16(5) (or its predecessor) which had survived the subsequent grant to her of limited leave to remain.

66.The Court in Akinsanya did not have the benefit of hearing the arguments that were advanced in the present case. Those arguments would have had no bearing on the point of construction of Regulation 16(7) which determined the outcome.

67.Mr Cox submitted that the criteria for the grant of the derivative right could not be met by a sole primary carer with limited leave to remain if the words “if the person left the UK for an indefinite period” in Regulation 16(5)(c) were not construed in the manner for which he contended, i.e. as a purely hypothetical premise. If a carer already had limited leave to remain they would not, in fact, leave the UK for an indefinite period and the child would not be compelled to leave with them.

68.Although I see the force of that argument, the immigration status of a person with limited leave to remain is precarious; leave is likely to be subject to conditions and it is liable to be withdrawn or truncated. It is possible to conceive of situations in which the conditions attached to a limited leave to remain are such as to make it impossible in practice for the primary carer to remain in the UK and look after the child.

69.I can also envisage a Zambrano carer whose limited leave to remain is due to expire making an application under Regulation 16(5)(c) and succeeding on the basis that they would have to leave the UK as soon as their limited leave expired and the child would have to go with them. In such a case if the decision-maker asks “what will happen to the child in the event that the primary carer leaves the UK for an indefinite period?” they will not be positing a completely unrealistic scenario. In any event, the practical difficulties of someone with limited leave to remain being able to satisfy the requirements of Regulation 16(5)(c) would not be a justification for construing those requirements in a manner which was clearly unintended.

71.Accordingly there is nothing in the decision in Akinsanya that precludes Regulation 16(5)(c) from being construed as I consider it should be construed”.

The appeal in Velaj was dismissed.

Conclusion

The interpretation of Regulation 16(5)(c) in Velaj enabled the Court to reach the conclusion that the appeal could not succeed.

The Court however did not undertake a detailed consideration as to how on the facts the particular appeal failed. Their analysis and conclusions on Regulation 16(5)(c) are however enough to enable a reader to grasp not only that the Appellant failed to meet the requirements of Regulation 16(5)(c)  but:

  • rejected by the Court were submissions on behalf of the Appellant that the decision-maker must determine whether the British citizen would be unable to reside in the UK on the purely hypothetical premise that their primary carer (or both primary carers) will leave the UK for an indefinite period

The Court’s view was that focus is on whether the British Citizen dependant would be “unable” to remain in the UK “if” something happens – i.e. on what will happen to the child if the primary carer leaves (or both primary carers leave). In that context the word “if” requires the decision maker to consider the position of the child on the basis that something is (actually) going to happen. It does not require that premise to be purely hypothetical, let alone counterfactual. The Court stated that given that the person asking themselves the question has to decide what in practice would happen to the child if that event occurred, it would make little sense to require them to make an assumption that the event will happen if it plainly will not.

Ultimately, the assessment of whether the British citizen would be unable to reside in the UK, the EEA if the applicant were required to leave the UK for an indefinite period requires a fact-based enquiry looking at whether, in practice, the British citizen would be unable to remain in the UK, or an EEA Member State or Switzerland, if the applicant (or, as the case may be, both primary carers) were  in fact required to leave the UK for an indefinite period. There is no need to make assumptions.

 

Refused EUSS application: non-EU spouse of EEA national wins appeal against Home Office unproven allegations of marriage of convenience

Not only did this Appellant win her appeal in 2015 but did so for a second time in April 2022, successfully countering the Secretary of State’s further unproven allegations that her marriage to an EEA national was one of convenience.

The Appellant, CZ, contended that as a spouse, she had made a valid application under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules and was eligible for indefinite leave to remain as a family member of a relevant European Economic Area (EEA) citizen and satisfied one of the conditions of Rule EU11 of Appendix EU.

Relevant provisions of Appendix EU:

Annex A Definitions of Appendix EU, provides the definition of civil partnership of convenience, durable partnership of convenience, marriage of convenience as entered into as a means to circumvent:

  • any criterion the party would have to meet in order to enjoy a right to enter or reside in the UK under the EEA Regulations; or
  • any other provision of UK immigration law or any requirement of the Immigration Rules; or
  • any criterion the party would otherwise have to meet in order to enjoy a right to enter or reside in the UK under EU law; or
  • any criterion the party would have to meet in order to enjoy a right to enter or reside in the Islands under Islands law

The definition of spouse does not include a marriage of convenience.

What seemed to count against the Appellant:

The odds seemed stacked against CZ:

  • She disclosed during a marriage interview, that due to disagreements with the EEA sponsor, there had been several periods of separation during the 5year period she held a residence card between 2015 and 2020
  • Whilst living elsewhere, she conceived and bore a child with another man after a one-off encounter
  • Having reconciled with the EEA national following the birth of the child, and upon seeking to apply for indefinite leave to remain under Appendix EU, along with the Sponsor she was subjected to a marriage interview by the Home Office at the end of 2020
  • A total of 390 questions were asked during the interview. The Interviewing Officer sought in 2020 to dig up and revisit matters which a previous Tribunal Judge had in 2015 decided did not go towards proving a marriage of convenience
  • Relying on alleged inconsistencies arising out of the marriage interview, the Secretary of State’s position, as per the refusal decision was that the Appellant’s marriage was one of convenience.

Summary arguments for the Appellant:

I represented  CZ and amongst other issues, submitted during the appeal hearing that:

Reliance was placed upon the following line of cases:

Why the Tribunal Judge found the marriage was not one of convenience:

The Judge expressed that it was not easy to understand the basis of the Secretary of State’s decision in the appeal, reasoning and concluding as follows:

  • There were no divorce proceedings, and none were planned.
  • The EEA Sponsor’s presence in the United Kingdom as a qualified person was enough, even if the couple were no longer living together.
  • The genuine nature of the marriage had been upheld  in a determination promulgated in 2015 and as submitted, Devaseelan  applied.
  • There was no basis for seeking to reopen the genuine nature of the marriage. Whether the marriage was in trouble (having been found genuine) was not relevant to the fact of over 5 years’ residence and the continued presence in the United Kingdom of both parties.
  • the evidence showed that the Appellant and her EEA Sponsor reconciled after a period of difficulty and from that it may safely be inferred that their marriage had been strengthened. Both gave full and exceptionally frank evidence, which the Tribunal accepted as true without hesitation. Their evidence was consistent with their answers at interview.
  • The Tribunal was satisfied that the marriage was genuine and subsisting. It was not a marriage of convenience and never has been.
  • The Appellant met the conditions of Regulation EU11.3(a)(ii), (b) and (c).

The Tribunal Judge concluded that the Appellant’s appeal succeeded, and she was entitled to Indefinite Leave to Remain under Appendix EU.

 

 

 

Primary Carers of British citizens: The Akinsanya litigation and persons with a Zambrano right to reside

 “It’s is now time for the Home Office to remove the offending parts in Guidance Derivative rights of residence. The Guidance appears misleading and results, as intended, in a discouragement of or an unlawful bar on entitled would- be applicants from relying upon the EEA Regulations”, so concluded a blog post of nearly one and half years ago- Automatic/Blanket Zambrano refusals: FTT Judge finds amended Zambrano Guidance an inaccurate reflection of the 2016 EEA Regulations | UK Immigration Justice Watch Blog

Following Akinsanya, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rev 3) [2021] EWHC 1535 (Admin), that is what the Secretary of State may well have to do, ie amend or publish new Guidance affecting those with  a Zambrano right to reside.

Zambrano and Appendix EU

As is widely known, since 1 May 2019, a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ has been able to apply for settled status (indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK) or pre-settled status (limited leave to enter or remain in the UK) under the EU Settlement Scheme.

In the case of Zambrano, the CJEU found that a European Union (EU) Member State cannot refuse a person the right to reside in that State, where to do so would deprive their dependent EU citizen children (who reside and are nationals of that State) of genuine enjoyment of the substance of their EU citizenship rights by forcing them to leave the European Economic Area (EEA).

The primary carer of a British citizen will have a derivative right to reside in the UK based on Zambrano if both the following apply:

  • the British citizen is also residing in the UK
  • the British citizen would be unable to reside in the UK or in an EEA Member State or Switzerland, if the primary carer left the UK for an indefinite period

The conditions to be satisfied for a derivative right to reside based on Zambrano are set out in regulation 16(5) of the 2016 EEA Regulations.

Appendix EU refers partly to the relevant provisions of the EEA Regulations when defining a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’. Therefore, the applicant will be a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ under Appendix EU where, they are resident for a continuous qualifying period in the UK with a derivative right to reside by virtue of regulation 16(1) of the EEA Regulations, satisfying several criteria.

The Akinsanya litigation

The case of Akinsanya, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rev 3) [2021] EWHC 1535 (Admin) (09 June 2021), concerned the decision of the Secretary of State on 29 September 2020 refusing Ms Akinsanya’s application under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) as a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside‘.

Deliberately calculated amendments to the Regulations and Guidance:

The Court made references to the following:

  • Regulation 15A of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1003) was noted to have been impeccably drafted and accurately reflected the true legal scope of the decision in Zambrano, namely that holding indefinite leave to remain in the UK, and nothing but such indefinite leave, would automatically debar an application from being made for a Zambranoderivative right of residence under Regulation 15A. Regulation 15A, as well as the Guidance issued at that time accurately stated that a person with limited leave would be entitled to apply for a Zambrano derivative right of residence. For this reason such a person was not designated as “exempt”.
  • The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/1052) replaced the 2006 Regulations.  When making the 2016 Regulations the Secretary of State decided to maintain in Regulation 16(7)(c)(iv) only indefinite leave as the criterion for an exempt person; there was no hint that at that point she considered that the definition of exempt person should be expanded to catch all those with limited leave to remain.
  • On 7 March 2019 Secretary of State promulgated the EUSS. She laid before Parliament on that same day the Immigration (European Economic Area Nationals) (EU Exit) Regulations (SI 2019/468), which came into force three weeks later on 28 March 2019. These made amendments to the 2016 Regulations. Specifically, a new Regulation 16(7A) was added which stated: “(7A) Leave to enter, or remain in, the United Kingdom under the 1971 Act which has been granted by virtue of Appendix EU to the immigration rules is not to be treated as leave for the purposes of paragraph (6)(b) or (7)(c)(iv)”. Therefore, on 7 March 2019 the Secretary of State modified the definition of an exempt person to exclude someone who has been granted leave to remain in the UK under the EUSS. It was noted by the Court that the Secretary of State modified the definition of leave to allow someone granted leave under the EUSS nonetheless to apply for a Zambrano derivative right to reside, yet she chose not to modify any other aspect of the regime governing leave
  • Paragraph (b) in Annex 1 of Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules was promulgated on 7 March 2019 and defined a person with a Zambrano right to reside as a:  “a person who has satisfied the Secretary of State, including (where applicable) by the required evidence of family relationship, that, by the specified date, they are (and for the relevant period have been), or (as the case may be) for the relevant period in which they rely on having been a person with a Zambrano right to reside (before they then became a person who had a derivative or Zambrano right to reside) they were:
    …. (b) without leave to enter or remain in the UK, unless this was granted under this Appendix
  • On 2 May 2019, the Secretary of State issued Guidance documents under challenge namely “Free Movement Rights: derivative rights of residence” (version 5.0). This stated that people with limited leave to remain could not apply for a Zambranoderivative right to reside and provided that: “A derivative right to reside is only available to an applicant who has no other means to remain lawfully in the UK as the primary carer of a dependent British citizen, or a dependent of that primary carer.…Where a person wishes to remain in the UK on the basis of family life with a British citizen, they should first make an application for leave to remain under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules, not for a derivative residence card on the basis of Zambrano.…This means that a Zambrano application must be refused if the applicant: has never made an application under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules or any other Article 8 ECHR claim, where that avenue is available; has been refused under Appendix FM or Article 8 ECHR but their circumstances have changed since the decision was made – for example, the applicant applied on the basis of their relationship with a British spouse, but the couple now have a British child.” The Court stated that it was it troubling, to say the least, that this instruction should have been issued requiring staff to ignore the clear terms of the 2016 Regulations, and therefore to act unlawfully.
  • Home Office Guidance, “EU Settlement Scheme: person with a Zambranoright to reside” (version 4.0 of 27 April 2021) states: “A Zambrano right to reside is only available to a person who has no other means to remain lawfully in the UK as the primary carer of a dependent British citizen, or as a dependant of that primary carer. As set out in sub-paragraph (b) of the definition of a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ in Annex 1 to Appendix EU, an applicant cannot meet that definition if they have (or, as the case may be, for the relevant period had) leave to enter or remain in the UK, unless this was granted under Appendix EU. An applicant cannot therefore meet that definition if they have (or, as the case may be, for the relevant period had) leave to enter or remain granted under another part of the Immigration Rules (such as Appendix FM) or on a discretionary basis outside the Rules”.

How the litigation arose

It was established that Ms Akinsanya, a sole carer of a British citizen child was granted 30 months limited leave to remain under Appendix FM until 11 January 2022, with no condition preventing recourse to public funds. Her subsequent application of 29 January 2020, under the EU Settlement Scheme for indefinite leave to remain under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules, on the basis that she was a Zambrano carer with five years’ continuous residence was refused by the Secretary of State in September 2020. The Secretary of State decided that the claimant was not eligible for the EUSS because she had already been granted limited leave to remain, and so was barred by paragraph (b) of the definition of ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside’ in Appendix EU.

Ms Akisanya sought an order in the Administrative Court quashing the decision made by the Secretary of State on 29 September 2020 refusing her application under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) as a ‘person with a Zambrano right to reside‘. She also sought other declaratory and quashing relief.

The question the Court had to decide, was whether the right to reside was automatically extinguished if there was, at the time that it is claimed, a concurrent limited leave to remain.

The Secretary of State’s position was that the true meaning of Zambrano is that any national award of limited leave to remain acts to thwart an application for a Zambrano derivative right to reside.

A win in the Administrative Court

In allowing the Claimant’s application for judicial review, the Court concluded:

  • The Zambrano principle is simple and clear. An EU citizen, who happens to be a small child, is entitled to enjoy the full benefits of EU citizenship, of which the principal one is living in EU territory. If her primary carer were to be expelled from EU territory, and if in the real world the EU citizen would have to accompany the carer, then the EU citizen is denied the benefits of her citizenship. Therefore, her carer has to be granted residence in the relevant EU state.
  • In the Court’s judgement, a proper analysis of the EU cases clearly demonstrates that the court did not consider a limited leave to remain under national law to be a Zambranoextinguishing factor
  • Nothing decided in the CJEU or domestically since the decision in Zambranosupports the theory that the existence of a concurrent limited leave to remain of itself automatically extinguishes a claim for Zambrano On the contrary, it is clear from the facts of Zambrano itself that the CJEU tacitly acknowledged that a limited national leave to remain, and a wider Zambrano right to remain, in many cases can and will coexist.
  • The Secretary of State erred in law when she formulated paragraph (b).

In relation to issues raised as regards amendment of the 2016 EEA Regulations, the following came under consideration:

  • It was noted that the argument advanced on behalf of the Secretary of State was that the Court should construe the 2016 Regulations so that they conform with what she maintains to be the true scope of the Zambrano The Court indicated that it had already rejected the Secretary of State’s argument that the true scope of the Zambrano jurisprudence does not extend to people with limited leave to remain.
  • If the natural meaning of the words in the domestic measure appears to grant its users an uncovenanted bonus then the corrective remedy lies in the hands of the rule makers and Parliament, and not in the hands of the judges.
  • Even if the Court was wrong about the juridical scope of the Zambrano decision, its judgment nonetheless was that neither a textual nor a contextual construction of Regulation 16 can yield a meaning which so radically reduces its reach.  It would amount to judicial amendment not interpretation.
  • What was being suggested was to add words( i.e limited leave) to a domestic statutory instrument which have the effect of stripping away rights from what may be a substantial cohort of applicants.
  • It was the Court’s judgment that, irrespective of the true scope of the Zambrano jurisprudence, the natural, fair, reasonable and plain meaning of the words of Regulation 16 entitle an applicant under the 2016 Regulations for a derivative right to reside to have the application determined by reference to the prescribed eligibility criteria in that Regulation rather than being struck out peremptorily. The existing words in Regulation 16 are clear and the proposed amendments go well outside the permissible range of meaning of those words.

Why the Secretary of State has not yet made the amendments to the Regulations herself

In Akinsanya, the Court asked why the Secretary of State was asking the Court to do her amending for her: if the Secretary of State was so anxious that persons with limited leave to remain should also be designated as exempt persons, it would be the easiest thing for the 2016 Regulations to be amended again.

The Court was informed by those representing the Secretary of State that this would not be straightforward as the 2016 Regulations had in fact been revoked by the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 Sch.1(1) para.2(2) with effect from 31 December 2020, but the revocation has effect subject to savings specified in two statutory instruments made pursuant to that Act.

The Court noted in summary, that the effect of the savings is to allow people in the position of the claimant whose rights had vested prior to implementation day on 31 December 2020 to make their claim, however, it was apparently, not straightforward to make amendments to these preserved provisions.

Declarations by the Court and a quashing order

The Court made the following declarations:

  • The Secretary of State erred in law when providing, in Annex 1 to Appendix EU to the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC 395 as amended, that the definition of a “person with a Zambrano right to reside” includes paragraph (b) “a person …. without leave to enter or remain in the UK, unless this was granted under this Appendix.”
  • The Guidance issued by the Secretary of State (1) “Free Movement Rights: derivative rights of residence” (version 5.0 of 2 May 2019) and (2) “EU Settlement Scheme: person with a Zambrano right to reside” (version 4.0 of 27 April 2021) is legally erroneous insofar as it states that a person who has limited leave to enter or remain in the UK cannot also have a derivative right to reside by virtue of regulation 16(1) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, by satisfying the criteria in regulation 16(5) of those Regulations.

The Secretary of State’s decision of 29 September 2020 refusing the Claimant’s indefinite leave to remain under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules was quashed.

Developments: The Consent Order of 17 June 2021

The Claimant’s application for further relief was adjourned to 17 June 2021.

Appended to the Akinsanya judgement published on 9 June 2021, is a Consent Order dated 17 June 2021.

The Consent Order provides as follows, amongst other matters:

a.The Secretary of State is to reconsider the relevant provisions of Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules (“Appendix EU”);

b.The Secretary of State will not determine applications made under Appendix EU on the basis that the applicant is or was a person with a Zambrano right to reside (‘Zambrano application’) and is affected by the Court’s judgment, until after she has completed her reconsideration of Appendix EU;

c.In paragraph (a)(v) of the definition of ‘required date’ in Annex 1 to Appendix EU the reference to “limited leave to enter or remain granted under another part of these Rules or outside the Immigration Rules which has not lapsed or been cancelled, curtailed or invalidated” includes leave to enter or remain granted under another part of these Rules or outside the Immigration Rules which is extended by operation of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971;

d.To the extent that paragraph 34BB of the Immigration Rules applies to a Zambrano application, it will be disregarded where there is (i) an outstanding valid Zambrano application for leave to remain under Appendix EU and a valid application for leave to remain is subsequently made under Appendix FM based on the same circumstances; and (ii) an outstanding valid application for leave to remain under Appendix FM and a valid Zambrano application for leave to remain is subsequently made under Appendix EU based on the same circumstances as the Appendix FM application;

e.The Secretary of State intends to implement and publicise a policy under which, for a reasonable period of time which she will specify, but which will be for a period of not less than six weeks after publication of the outcome of her reconsideration referred to at a. above, Zambrano applications made on or after 1 July 2021 will be deemed, under the definition of ‘required date’ in Annex 1 to Appendix EU, to have reasonable grounds for the person’s failure to make that application at the earlier date relevant under that definition;

f.In accordance with paragraph (c) of the definition of “EEA Regulations” in Annex 1 of Appendix EU, the question of whether an applicant is a person with a Zambrano right to reside as defined in Appendix EU in respect of a period on or after 1 July 2021 is to be determined on the basis of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 as they had effect immediately before they were revoked, and, where the context requires it, on the basis that they had not been revoked;

g.Where a valid Zambrano application is made on or before 30 June 2021, the Secretary of State provides the applicant with a certificate of application confirming their entitlement to work, study and rent a place to live, until final determination of their Zambrano application;

h.The Secretary of State is considering the position in relation to the issue of similar certificates for applications made under Appendix EU on or after 1 July 2021, including in relation to Zambrano applications;

i.Before expiry of the period referred to in e., above, where persons are encountered by Immigration Enforcement on or after 1 July 2021 who may be eligible for leave as potential Zambrano applicants under Appendix EU in light of the judgment, such persons will be provided with written notice giving them an opportunity to make a valid application under Appendix EU, normally within 28 days of the date of the written notice.

**In relation to further information as to the effect of the Consent Order and other helpful clarifications as well as a further point of reference in relation to the Akinsanya litigation, the information provided by Hackney Community Law Centre is of assistance: www.hclc.org.uk/2021/06/zambrano-carers-and-the-euss-scheme-what-you-need-to-know/

Conclusion

What the Secretary of State has since 2019 been hard at work on, i.e a deliberate thwarting of would-be Zambrano applicants, has been stalled. Whatever the outcome of the pending litigation in the Court of Appeal, for now at least, the Secretary of State should accept that the Akinsanya litigation has opened the door wide open for applications from hundreds or even thousands of Zambrano primary carers of British citizens- not only from those with limited leave to remain, but applicants without any leave, including third country primary carers subject to deportation.

Automatic/Blanket Zambrano refusals: FTT Judge finds amended Zambrano Guidance an inaccurate reflection of the 2016 EEA Regulations

Following the Supreme Court Judgement in Patel v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC 59 (16 December 2019), Home Office Policy Guidance, Derivative rights of residence, published on 2nd May 2019 should no longer continue  in existence in the public domain in its current form.

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