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As a direct access immigration barrister in London, the majority of my practice involves supporting those that have migrated from outside the EU, nevertheless I am equally happy to provide advice to those who have migrated from within the EU to help them navigate the complex web of immigration law in the UK. This post highlights a recent determination of the Upper Social Security Tribunal that could be applied immigration cases, especially applications to establish a right of residence under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and signals a shift in the law in relation to ‘worker’ status during pregnancy/maternity. There is also a great deal of potential cross over in respect of rights to benefits etc that are currently not properly understood or digested. This is of particular importance in cases where individuals are seeking to migrate around the EU. As any reader of my blog or indeed of any newspaper or TV will know that the current government is seeking to make it more unpleasant and difficult to live in the UK, strange really when you consider how a good a job the weather makes of doing that anyway! Seriously, this decision from a related Tribunal has much potential for those seeking to migrate and those who find themselves without work for a little longer than they hoped.

The tribunal’s recent decision establishes that female EU citizens may expect to retain ‘Worker’ status for a year when off-work. As a consequence, they will be entitled to be lawfully resident; having exercised rights for free movement under EU law to migrate to the UK. Furthermore, they will be able to access the full range of state services which impose a right of residence test.

The outcome of the case builds upon the precedent set by case C-507/12 St Prix v Secretary of State for the Work and Pensions  [2015] 1 CMLR 5 and
Constitutes a progressive move from the tribunal, as it concerns women who needed to establish 52 weeks (1 year) of retained Worker status while pregnant and in period following birth. Whereas, previously in St Prix was the court was concerned with a woman who only needed 26 weeks (½ a year) of retained ‘Worker’ status.

On a closer analysis the case establishes that:
The case establishes that the ‘St Prix’ right now extends to 52 weeks.
A claimant may establish the ‘Worker’ status otherwise known as an ‘St Prix right’ retrospectively as well as prospectively.
The right commences ordinarily 11 weeks prior to date of birth but the starting point is often flexible depending on the facts of a particular case.
The ‘St Prix’ period constitutes as part of the accumulation of lawful residence in order to acquire a EU right of permanent residence.