ArticleUpper Tribunal clarifies residence rights after loss of EU citizenship

In a landmark ruling, the UK Upper Tribunal has clarified the legal position regarding the loss of EU citizenship and its impact on residence rights under EU law. The case, titled Secretary of State for the Home Department v Nagdev & Anor (Procedural safeguards; expulsion; Chenchooliah) [2024] UKUT 101 (IAC), addresses complex issues surrounding the rights of individuals once their EU citizenship sponsor loses such status.

Background of the case

The case involved a married couple from India, both born in 1955, whose son, born in 1980, acquired Austrian citizenship through marriage in 2005. After his divorce and subsequent remarriage to a British citizen, he settled in the UK, securing a permanent residence card by 2014. However, in a twist of fate, he discovered in 2015 that Austria had revoked his citizenship in 2012, rendering him stateless as he had previously renounced his Indian nationality.

His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Nagdev, entered the UK in 2011 and attempted to secure residence as dependent family members. Although initially unsuccessful, a subsequent appeal granted them residence cards, which expired in 2018. Their later attempt to acquire permanent residence was denied due to insufficient evidence of their son’s identity and EU citizenship status.

Decision of the Tribunal

The First-tier Tribunal initially ruled in favour of the Nagdevs, applying the precedent set by Chenchooliah v Minister for Justice and Equality [2019]. This EU case underscored the necessity of proportionality in the expulsion of third-country nationals connected to EU citizens. The judge contended that even though their son lost his EU citizenship, the connection to an erstwhile EU citizen warranted a proportionate approach.

However, the Upper Tribunal overturned this decision, emphasising that the appellants’ EU residence rights ceased once their son lost his EU citizenship in 2012. The tribunal noted that his permanent UK residence status was irrelevant to their EU law-based claims. Additionally, it pointed out that the Chenchooliah case was inapplicable as no decision was involved in removal, rendering the proportionality test unnecessary.

Implications of the ruling

This ruling highlights the precarious nature of reliance on EU citizenship for residence rights in the UK, particularly in the context of the UK’s evolving immigration landscape post-Brexit. It also clarifies the legal boundaries concerning the loss of EU citizenship and the consequential effects on dependent family members’ rights.

The decision underscores the need for clear legal advice and meticulous documentation for those navigating the complexities of immigration status related to changes in citizenship. The outcome serves as a critical reminder of the direct impact of citizenship status on dependent relatives residing in the UK.

For immigration law practitioners and affected families, this case provides essential insights into the handling of cases where EU citizenship is lost. It stresses the importance of understanding the distinct legal frameworks governing permanent residence and the rights accorded under EU law.

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