EU citizens who become British can STILL bring their non-EU spouses to the UK, a European Court has ruled today.
A landmark case declared that it was wrong for the Home Office to prevent a British-Spanish citizen from being able to have her Algerian husband come and live with her.
Alamy The European Court of Justice ruling could have an impact on post-Brexit immigration, but it will depend on talks with the EU
García Ormazábal and her husband, Toufik Lounes had their case referred to the High Court in London earlier this year, after the Home Office rejected his application to stay permanently in the UK.
He had come to Britain in 2010 and illegally outstayed his six-month visa.
Officials had argued that his wife, who became a British citizen in 2009 but retained her Spanish nationality, should face the same strict immigration rules as any other Brit who wanted to bring in a foreign spouse.
The European Court of Justice ruled that Lounes had a right under EU freedom of movement rules to stay with her in the UK.
AP:Associated Press Theresa May has said we will leave the court and its rulings behind after Brexit
Today’s ruling could have implications on EU citizens applying for British passports – if they believe they will be more likely to be allowed to bring a foreign spouse to the UK.
EU nationals are allowed to bring family members from outside the EU to live with them in the UK at the moment – but it is a point of furious debate in Brexit talks.
Negotiations on citizens rights and the impact of the European Court of Justice are still up in the air.
Theresa May has said we will leave the court and its rulings behind, but the EU is insisting that we still abide by them in any transition period.
Ministers are still deliberating our post-Brexit immigration policy too – the Government is due to publish a new plan in the Commons early in the New Year.
Getty Images Ministers are still drawing up post-Brexit immigration policies
A leaked document earlier this year said that Britain intends to end freedom of movement as soon as we leave the EU, and will put restrictions on all but highly-skilled EU workers.
And it said that for those who come to Britain after Brexit, case law from EU courts will no longer be binding on the UK – meaning that today’s ruling could no longer cease to apply.
But other plans being floated by the Home Office said that all EU migrants would be able to come to Britain after they leave, as long as they had a job.
The Home Office said they would comply with today’s ruling and judgement from the ECJ.