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Remove restrictions on issue of EEA family member residence cards

Comment 13th August 2010

Amend Part 3 of The Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 so that residence cards compliant with Article 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC are issued to  non-EEA spouses/civil partners of uK citizens when they are issued with UK identity cards and are granted leave to remain in the UK. The issue in particular should include non-EEA spouses/partners originating form countries listed in Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001.

Why does this matter?

Because of the UK 's restrictive interpretation of Article 3 of the Freedom of Movement Directive, non-EEA spouses/partners who marry/ enter into partnership with a UK citizen in the UK can, in general, not obtain a residence card which allows them to travel visa-free with their spouse/partner in the EEA. This imposes an unnecessary and discriminatory restriction on the couple's ability to visit friends/holiday in Europe. Accelerated procedures for obtaining visas involve delay, cost and inconvenience, repeating procedures and checks already carried out by the UK Border Agency when granting leave to remain in the uK to the non-EEA spouse. This problem has caused discriminatory inconvenience to some couple legitimately resident in the UK for some years, and needs urgent attention. It affects couples where the non-EEA spouse/partner is from a list of specific countries and involves them in unnecessary bureaucracy which makes them feel regarded as second-class residents.

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