Home Office granted adjournment in DeSouza citizenship rights case

The Home Office has been granted a six-month adjournment in the First-tier Tribunal in a high-profile dispute over an Irish woman’s access to a UK immigration scheme for EU nationals.

Immigration rights campaigner Emma DeSouza is currently fighting to bring her husband to Northern Ireland as the family member of an EEA national living in the UK.

Her husband applied to live in Northern Ireland in 2015 but was refused on the basis that Mrs DeSouza is a dual British-Irish national because she was born in Northern Ireland and therefore should be treated as a British national, not as an EEA national.

She has argued, however, that this comes into conflict with the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), which sets out “the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British or both, as they may so choose”.

Mrs DeSouza’s husband successfully challenged the decision on the basis of her rights under the GFA, but the Home Office is in the process of appealing.

She confirmed via Twitter yesterday that the tribunal had agreed to grant a six-month adjournment to the Home Office because “preferred counsel was not available”.

Mrs DeSouza added: “It’s hard to put into words how that feeling of relief when we finally won at the tribunal was taken from us when the [Home Office] appealed.

“The department has stolen four years going on five of our lives and have been unable to present an argument for their appeal. How is this allowed?”

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