European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) Turkish Nationals
Under the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA), Turkish citizens can apply to enter or stay in the United Kingdom to establish themselves in business. The above ECAA Agreement with Turkey, which is also known as the Ankara Agreement was signed on 12 September 1963. Article 13 of the Agreement provides progressive abolition of restrictions on freedom of establishment and provision of services. Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement was signed on 23 November 1970. Article 41 of the agreement which is also known as the standstill clause says, “The Contracting Parties shall refrain from introducing between themselves any new restrictions on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.” The clause also prohibits introduction of any new restrictions. This means that the Turkish citizens cannot be affected by the contemporary laws and restrictions on the free movement of people particularly concerning matters where individuals want to establish their own business.
Therefore, the impact of the standstill clause is that Turkish nationals seeking leave to enter or remain in the UK as business person will have to get their applications considered under domestic rules. The clause is therefore no less favourable to them than those in force when the UK joined the EU on 1 January 1973. The entry rules in vogue at that time were HC509 and the after entry rules were HC510.
In the case (C-16/05 Tum and Dari - 20 September 2007) the European Court of Justice held that the Ankara Agreement prohibits the introduction, from its entry into force, of any new restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, including those relating to the conditions governing first admission to a Member State.
The benefit of the standstill clause is subject to one exception which is in consistent with the ECJ’s findings in Tum and Dari. According to this finding where fraud or abuse is established, the standstill clause will not be applied and the merits of the person’s business application will only be considered under the current rules as applicable. The current immigration rules HC395, as amended, are stricter than those in force in 1973. This will normally be the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category in paragraphs 245H-245N or, where applicable, on general grounds for refusal.
In the Ankara Agreement there is still scope for improvement. The UKBA, in an aim to control false claims and unfounded business are also introducing new measures such as interview process and applicants relying on the Ankara Agreement are interviewed by UKBA staff.
Entry Clearance / Leave to Remain
Those applicants, who are genuinely interested to establish a viable business, may be granted leave to remain (or Entry Clearance) for 12 months from date of decision. After the 12 month ‘trial’ period for the business, if it succeeds the applicant can apply for further leave to remain in the UK which may be considered under the After Entry Business Provisions in order to continue with their business. Generally an “appropriate extension of stay” for a period of 3 years is granted but this is not the end. After completing 4 years leave to remain under a Turkish ECAA self-employed visa, applicants may apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. thereafter, applicants can then apply for naturalisation as a British citizen after a further 12 months.
Family members of Turkish ECAA Self Employed persons in the UK can apply to join their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner or parent (if the applicant is a child under the age of 18 at the time of the application). They can opt for and apply for settlement in the UK.
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