The Upper Tribunal has dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeal against the First-tier Tribunal’s decision in Zalaoros v Secretary of State for the Home Department, an EEA deportation case.
Mr Zalaoros was a Greek national subject to automatic deportation following his conviction for serious drug offences. He appealed against the deportation decision with the assistance of the AIRE Centre.
First-tier Tribunal Judge Foudy found that Mr Zalaoros had acquired a permanent right of residence under the EEA Regulations, and was further afforded the highest level of protection from deportation under the Regulations (the “imperative grounds test”). The Judge concluded that the threshold for deportation was not met.
However, the Secretary of State was granted permission to bring a reasons challenge against the decision of the First-tier Tribunal. This was on the basis that Judge Foudy had arguably given inadequate reasons for the finding that Mr Zalaoros had acquired a permanent right of residence under EU law, as there was limited documentary evidence of his employment in the UK for the requisite number of years.
Upper Tribunal Judge Pickup dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeal. While noting that the First-tier Tribunal’s decision was “relatively short”, Judge Pickup said the Tribunal “was entitled to consider the appellant’s account that he had been in the UK since 1990, he had been working, he said, consistently in various casual jobs and that there was some support for that from the documentary evidence.”
This case demonstrates the relatively low bar to establishing a permanent right of residence under EU law. Establishing such a right is an important precondition for a number of other rights and entitlements in the UK, including Universal Credit. When considering whether a claimant has a permanent right to reside, the Home Office, DWP, and other government departments often give limited weight to a claimant’s oral evidence of working in the UK. This case is therefore a useful precedent for claimants in a variety of contexts involving rights of residence under the EEA Regulations.
The Upper Tribunal’s decision can be found here.
Alex Shattock acted for Mr Zalaoros in the Upper Tribunal, instructed by the AIRE Centre.
Matthew Fraser acted for Mr Zalaoros in the First-tier Tribunal, instructed by the AIRE Centre.