The Government has been told it has just two months to comply with all of the Free Movement Directive or it will be taken to court.
It is facing claims that it has failed to implement four highly technical aspects of the legislation on the rights of EU citizens to live and work anywhere on the continent.
“As one of the EU’s larger member states, the UK is home to around 2 million citizens from other EU countries. It is therefore important that UK laws respect their rights,” said the European Commission, executive arm of the EU.
Legal experts believe it would be impossible for the Government to implement all the changes required of it on time, and that it would likely lose at least one aspect of any case brought to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
But the Home Office said last night it did not agree with the ultimatum, made in a “reasoned opinion” published by the EC on Thursday, and would fight the case.