UTIAC 1) Typically, the focus in EEA appeals involving family members is on either or both (i) the nature of the relationship with the EEA national/Union citizen; and (ii) the question of whether the EEA national/Union citizen has been exercising Treaty rights in the UK over the relevant period. What constitutes the relevant period, however, may be a matter requiring particular consideration and sometimes a family member may have acquired a right of permanent residence on the basis of historical facts. In the present case, for example, once the appellant had established that his wife was exercising Treaty rights for five continuous years since the date of marriage (and before he was divorced), then (subject to (d) below) he was from that date someone who had a right of permanent residence which could not be broken by absence from the UK unless in excess of two years.
2) Continuous residence in the UK of the applicant/appellant family member is an essential requirement for proving permanent residence: see regulation 15(1)(b) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and Article 16(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC).
3) Whilst often it may not be in dispute that the applicant/appellant family member has been in the UK during the relevant period, that is not something that can be taken for granted and it may sometimes become necessary on appeal for the tribunal judge to make a finding on the matter based on the evidence. If it has not previously been raised by the respondent, however, procedural fairness dictates that an appellant must be afforded a proper opportunity to deal with the issue.
4) When assessing whether the applicant/appellant family member has resided in the UK continuously for the purposes of qualifying for permanent residence, it must be recalled that regulation 3(2) of the 2006 Regulations provides that continuity of residence is not affected by (a) periods of absence from the United Kingdom which do not exceed six months in total in any year; (b) periods of absence from the United Kingdom on military service; or (c) any one absence from the United Kingdom not exceeding twelve months for an important reason such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training or an overseas posting (Article 16(3) of the Directive is to similar effect).
5) Once a right of permanent residence has been acquired, it can be lost only through the absence from the host Member State ‘for a period exceeding two consecutive years’ (regulation 15(2) of the 2006 Regulations; Article 16(4) of the Directive).
 UKUT 474 (IAC)
England and Wales
Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.450987