Letter: The right to family reunion

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: The decision of the European Court of Justice in the case of Surinder Singh (report, 8 July) has highlighted the anomaly which exists in current UK immigration policy. The Independent has clearly analysed the situation as it stood until yesterday - that a national of a European Community country other than Britain has stronger rights to family reunion under the immigration rules than a British citizen.

The European Court judgment now offers a partial remedy for British citizens who have suffered adverse decisions on applications to be joined in the UK by foreign spouses. Henceforth the British citizen wife of a refused Indian national husband might overcome the dilemma of separation by establishing herself in another EC country, bringing her husband across to join her, and then migrating once again with him to the UK.

Although we welcome the judgment, we feel strongly that the British Government should eliminate the source of the anomaly by allowing British citizens the same rights to family reunion in their own country as are currently enjoyed by Irish, French, Italian, Greek and the nationals of the other member states of the EC.

The European Court judgment has now given the British Government the opportunity to review its policy. It is surely time to acknowledge that the operation of such a subjective and, in practice, degrading test as the 'primary purpose rule' has now been rendered indefensible.

Yours faithfully,

CLAUDE MORAES

Director

Joint Council for the

Welfare of Immigrants

London, EC1

8 July

Comments