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The background is:

  • I am a UK citizen and my wife is a South African citizen My wife has a ban from the UK for 12 months (due to an overstayed visa, mistakes were made on our end with the dates)
  • I am currently in the process of acquiring my Irish passport (Irish grandparents)
  • We plan on moving to Cork (In Ireland) for a year until her re-entry ban is up and we can continue our lives in the UK. The initial idea was that my wife can travel to Cork without a visa (stamp on entry?) and then apply for a right to work through my Irish passport. Then we can both stay and work in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

Will her re-entry ban to the UK have an effect on any of this? I wouldn't of thought twice about it usually, but I read something online stating that the UK re-entry ban could have an effect on anyone traveling to Ireland (let alone someone wanting to move there)

Our top priority is still to continue our lives in the UK, I recently read that the re-entry ban does not apply to spousal visa applications, is this accurate? Would she need to apply for the spousal visa from South Africa?

Using the freedom of movement act, will we be able to work in EU countries?

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    Can you clarify a couple of things. Are you yet an Irish citizen? Becoming an Irish citizen, counter intuitively, is not helpful for you in moving to Ireland with your spouse, since if you're a non-citizen, you can rely on EU law, whereas if you're a citizen, you cannot. Where are you, and she, presently? – MJeffryes May 14 '18 at 15:57
  • Sure, so I have Irish grandparents but I am still gathering a few documents to apply for an Irish passport. So I am not yet an Irish Citizen. Currently I am in the UK and she is in South Africa. She had to volunteer to leave the UK when she realised she had overstayed. And then we got married in South Africa a few weeks ago. – Michael May 15 '18 at 7:23
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Using the freedom of movement act, will we be able to work in EU countries?

Using freedom of movement, you and your wife can live and work in any EU nation other than your own. If you become an Irish citizen, you can no longer rely on Freedom of Movement to live and work in Ireland with your wife.

I recommend that, for the moment, you do not apply for Irish citizenship. The visa process for the spouse of an Irish national requires more evidence than the process for the spouse of an EEA national.

If you wished, you could move to Ireland tomorrow, and your wife could immediately join you. If you are concerned about her entry ban, then she can apply for a visa as the spouse of an EU national resident in Ireland. This cannot be denied on the basis of her overstay in the UK. Ireland is required to issue her this visa under EU law.

Furthermore, once you have moved to Ireland, you may be able to return to the UK under the Surinder Singh route. This would mean that you could return to the UK under freedom of movement law, avoiding the financial requirements of the UK spouse visa. However, it's unknown at this point how this route will be affected by Brexit, and it can also be legally difficult to execute. If you wish to attempt this, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience of the Surinder Singh route.

Our top priority is still to continue our lives in the UK, I recently read that the re-entry ban does not apply to spousal visa applications, is this accurate? Would she need to apply for the spousal visa from South Africa?

As I said on Travel, I believe the entry ban is unlikely to affect your wife, since bans do not apply to spouse visa applications unless there are "aggravating circumstances, such as absconding, not meeting temporary admission/reporting restrictions or bail conditions, using an assumed identity or multiple identities, switching nationality, making frivolous applications or not complying with the re-documentation process", per the immigration rules. For best chances in your spouse visa application, you should seek legal advice on her entry ban.

I recently read that the re-entry ban does not apply to spousal visa applications, is this accurate? Would she need to apply for the spousal visa from South Africa?

She needs to apply for the visa from wherever she is currently resident. She will not be able to apply from within the UK. She could apply from Ireland if she were resident there.

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    @Michael I'd urge you not to accept my answer so soon. Others may have more experience in this situation than I do. – MJeffryes May 15 '18 at 10:08
  • Okay, thank you very much, I will wait to see if anyone else has some information, but your help has been very useful. Thank you – Michael May 15 '18 at 11:25
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    Just wanted to let you know that you were correct in every aspect. We contacted a lawyer, and although it was expensive, my wife is now back living in the UK. I can't overstate how useful your initial advice was. We though our situation was extremely dire, but your advice started us on a 3+ month process that ended up with us re-united for good. Thank you – Michael Aug 23 '18 at 9:40
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    @Michael Really happy to hear this, and very glad that you were able to resume your lives together so soon. Thank you for updating us. – MJeffryes Aug 23 '18 at 13:37

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