Commercial barristers are no more immune to thinking they know things which they don’t than anyone else. Here is one that we bet very few barristers or indeed anyone else knows they don’t know (unless they practise immigration law).
“Non-British EU citizens are free to come to the UK and stay as long as they wish, whether or not they have jobs or can support themselves and there is nothing, pre-Brexit, that the government can do about it.”
Not true. In consolidating the rather confusing pre-existing directives on the issue of immigration between member states, Council Directive 2004/38/EC made it unambiguously clear that an EU national is entitled to remain only 3 months in another member state without that state being entitled to require proof that the immigrant is not a burden on the state. Indeed the member state has complete discretion as to whether it will provide any social assistance during the 3 months period itself.
The directive gives wide powers to the host state to expel an EU national, even one who has resided in the host country all their life, on grounds of public policy or security.
Unlike the UK other EU states have used the directive to ensure that EU nationals from other countries cannot successfully claim entitlement to non-contributory social benefits as happened in Dano v Jobcenter Leipzig, 11 November 2014 where the ECJ decided in Germany’s favour.
It is not clear that any British government has ever exercised its right to apply the directive notwithstanding that many other EU countries have. Given the current stance of both government and opposition parties regarding freedom of movement this appears to be a strange omission.
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