Landmark case makes it easier for some SA families to emigrate to the UK

A landmark court decision on the rights of non-EU citizens is likely to have significant implications for South Africans looking to emigrate to the UK.

This is according to emigration consultants, Sable International, which said that a recent European court of justice (ECJ) decision means that non-EU citizens who are living with an EU citizen in the UK can continue to live and work in the UK when their EU partner becomes a British citizen.

This means that while one member of an emigrating family must still be an EU citizen, the rules surrounding gaining citizenship for the rest of the family are much for favourable, said Sable International’s John Dunn.

“One benefit of this ruling is that applicants may now choose to get EU permanent residency rather than the UK spouse visa.”

“There is a clause in the UK’s domestic law which states that an EU national who is also a British citizen cannot rely on the EU immigration regulations to sponsor family members to come to the UK, but this judgement changes that,” said Dunn.

According to Dunn, the EU immigration regulations are more favourable because:

  • You can sponsor a spouse without needing to meet the maintenance requirement.
  • You can sponsor children under the age of 21 (instead of 18) to come to the UK.
  • You can sponsor children past the age of 21 to come to the UK if they are still dependent on you.
  • You can sponsor your parents and grandparents to come to the UK without showing that they are too ill or disabled to look after themselves.

A Home Office spokesperson has stated that they are reviewing the judgment carefully and are considering its impact.

For now, however, they will have to abide by the ECJ’s decision.


Read: Where South Africans are looking to emigrate – and how to get to the US on the cheap

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Landmark case makes it easier for some SA families to emigrate to the UK