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Immigration policy is ‘at odds with EU law’

A new legal body should be established to ensure the movement of EU citizens is not restricted by tensions between EU and UK law, according to a new report.

Researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow say differences between EU law and UK immigration legislation are having an impact on freedom of movement. They say in some cases the application of EU law by UK authorities, particularly the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the Home Office, is significantly different to the way it is used by the European Commission and Court of Justice.

A solution suggested by the report would be to introduce a citizen champion who would act as an ombudsman to guide and support the implementation of EU law in relation to freedom of movement while also providing a link between the British and EU legal systems.

The report claims the UKBA and sometimes UK courts and tribunals do not fully understand the EU law that applies in their area.

Researchers found the UKBA refused a high number of applications, especially made by family members of EU citizens, yet also had a high rate of appeals to those refusals, which was deemed inconsistent.

Professor Jo Shaw, from Edinburgh University’s School of Law and lead author of the report said: “Our detailed work has highlighted the area where there are tensions, for example, regarding family members.

“This core aspect of EU law needs further work to ensure its benefits are felt by the UK and EU citizens.”