EEA Residence Card

Family members of EEA Nationals who currently reside in the UK under the EEA free movement tenets as enshrined in the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 may be eligible to extend their leave in the UK on the basis of their relationship with the EEA national.

Having been granted an initial 6 months leave, residence cards are granted towards the confirmation of your rights of residency in accordance with established European laws. The residence card is produced as a BRP – Biometric Residence Permit. Leave to remain under this route if granted is usually 5 years. It is however important to note that this leave is contingent upon the fact that the EEA or Swiss national is and will be continually resident in the UK.

As with most EEA visa categories, the exercise of Treaty right is also a major factor should applicants choose to follow this route. It is therefore important the EEA or Swiss national is exercising their treaty rights. This means that they must be either employed, self-sufficient, self-employed (self-employed persons must be able to demonstrate that they have been duly registered and are paying the appropriate tax as well as national insurance tax), job seeker (the periods of job seeking should not exceed 6 months) or a student (students would have to show that they have a comprehensive sickness insurance in place).

Importantly, certain relatives are recognized for eligibility based on the current immigration rules. Such relatives include:-

  • Worker:-Where the EEA citizen is currently in employment and he is exercising free movement rights, such an individual is a qualified person. Such an individual must also be able to show that they can support themselves, spouse and other family members where applicable without needing to rely on public funds. In the event that such an individual loses his employment temporarily, they may still be referred to as ‘working’ based on the regulation 6(2) if: -

    • The period of temporary unemployment is as a result of a sickness or an accident;
    • The period of temporary unemployment was involuntary and the individual has commenced vocational training;
    • The period of temporary unemployment was voluntary and the individual has commenced a vocational training that is linked to his/her previous employment.

  • Self-sufficient Person: - The definition of self-sufficiency according to the immigration rules is based on if-

    • The individual has enough funds to cater for his family (spouse and other family members where applicable) along with other living expenses without recourse to public funds; and
    • The individual has in place an appropriate sickness insurance not just for himself alone but for the rest of his family members.
    • The individual is retired and has investments and a pension that can sustain his living expenses as well as that of his family members (where applicable) in the UK.
    • The individual is working for a charity but has enough funds to support both himself and that of his family members (if applicable) in the UK; or the charity is supporting his living expenses.

  • Self-employed Person: - Where an individual is self-employed, the self-employed person must have registered for income tax as well as national insurance as a self-employed person with the HMRC. Such an individual would have to demonstrate this by showing certain document evidence including invoices, business accounts, accountant’s letter, bank statements, etc.

  • Job Seekers: - - Under the immigration rules, jobs seekers would have to demonstrate that they are actively looking for employment and that they have a realistic chance of securing a job. The following points are also crucial for job seekers in this route: -

    • They must have registered as a job seeker and have been employed for at least a year prior to becoming unemployed;
    • The unemployed period do not exceed 6 months.
    • The individual must be able to show that have a realistic prospect of becoming employed.

  • Student: - - The EEA national must be fully registered with a recognised sponsor for a course that has already started. Such EEA nationals must also have enough funds to cover their living expenses. The living expenses may be demonstrated by providing bank statements showing that a certain specified amount has been in the in the bank account for a specified period of time. It may also be necessary to show that the individual has a comprehensive sickness insurance.


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The Home Office is proposing to charge UK businesses seeking to employ non-EU workers £1000 for every skilled worker they employed. This, according to the Home Secretary, would cut down Tier 2 migrants by 20%. The Tier 2 visa route is designed for skilled non-EU workers who have gained employment by an employer who is willing to sponsor them.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) urged the Government to dismiss this proposal, claiming that it will have an adverse effect on small firms seeking to bring in skilled workers in certain key areas where it is evident that we have shortages. Key sectors like teaching, IT and nursing will be affected.

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