Expulsion of homeless EEA national struck down on appeal
The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is a London based charity providing free legal advice on European human rights law and European Union law. It is a specialist law centre whose mission is to promote awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights. AIRE Centre can provide legal advice to other lawyers and advisers in the voluntary sector - please visit their website www.airecentre.org
The AIRE Centre recently represented a Czech national who has resided in the UK since April 2006; her partner, also Czech, has been here even longer. In February 2011 the couple were identified by the police for begging and their details were given to the UK Border Agency.
Both were invited to an interview to determine whether they could be removed from the under Regulation 19(3)(a) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, i.e. on the basis that they were not exercising residence rights in the UK. After their separate interviews, the AIRE Centre's client was informed that she would be removed from the UK, but not her partner.
She was given removal directions for early in May 2011 and was required to report to the Home Office. The AIRE Centre appealed this decision. In the meantime, the AIRE Centre also assisted her in signing on as a jobseeker for Jobseeker's Allowance (which became possible for all Czech and other 'A8 nationals' on 1 May 2011).
The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) heard the case, the Home Office having agreed not to remove the person concerned whilst the appeal was ongoing. The First-tier Tribunal allowed the appeal on 7 June 2011, noting the following:
- the appellant was a jobseeker as of the date of the appeal;
- the appellant may have been self-employed, as she was selling the Big Issue;
- it may have been appropriate for the Secretary of State to exercise her discretion to grant her residence documentation as the durable partner of an EEA national, that is, her Czech partner who apparently (as he was not targeted for expulsion) did have a right to reside in the UK;
- her expulsion would violate Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights because it would separate her from her partner; and
- such expulsions appear to be disproportionate in general because the only legitimate aim they might pursue, as a matter of EU law, would be to protect the social assistance system and this individual had never received social assistance.
For more information on the issue and you can access the AIRE Centre and MRN Factsheet on Expulsion of homeless EEA nationals and Frequently Asked Questions about the rights A8 nationals from 1 May 2011 For all the updates on the issue please go to our blog roll on homelessness.
Do not hesitate to contact Adam Weiss at the AIRE Centre ([email protected]) if you wish to discuss this case further.