Immigration law conflicts with Europe

Roger Pearson reports on a nanny fighting for the right of entry into the UK

IMMIGRATION law will come under the spotlight in a High Court case in which it is alleged application of UK immigration policies conflict with rights under European law.

The case involves an Italian Contessa whose Brazilian-born maid and nanny is seeking judicial review of a decision to ban her from the UK on immigration law grounds. She was refused entry earlier in January.

The case is the first of its kind and it will be argued on behalf of the nanny, Edna Pinheiro, that even though she is Brazilian, she has, as the employee of the Contessa, been lawfully resident in Italy and is therefore, under European law entitled to be admitted to the UK to work. She will claim that both her rights and those of her employer, Contessa Noemi Cinzano, have been breached by the decision that she is not entitled to entry to the UK.

Miss Pinheiro has accompanied the Contessa and her children on trips around the world looking after her and her two children. In August 1993, the Contessa, a divorcee who runs a worldwide business exporting wine and olive oil from her Italian estates, purchased a home in London while promoting her business in the UK. She then sent her children to a private school here.

Initially, 29-year-old Miss Pinheiro, who has lived with the Contessa in Brazil, Canada, the US and Italy , was allowed to move in with the family at their home in Fulham, West London. However, when she flew into Heathrow airport last month to take charge of the children, the immigration authorities at Heathrow refused her entry.

In addition to the claim that Miss Pinheiro is entitled to be here on the basis of her resident status in Italy the case will argue that the immigration authorities, by taking the stance they have, have interfered with the Contessa's European law rights as an Italian national to make use of her nanny's services in this country.