In late October, our office conducted some research on EU Treaty Rights law and the entitlements under the Directive and Regulations on Free Movement. We have been closely monitoring developments within the European Court of Justice as this area of the law is dynamic and extremely relevant for many of our clients. There's a clear anomaly where an Irish citizen has different rights to those of an EU national who has moved to Ireland. Further updates will follow!
REVERSE DISCRIMINATION – THE DOWN SIDE TO ‘FREE MOVEMENT’
The issue of reverse discrimination has been a reality for many Irish citizens who see a clear divide between how they and their family members are treated in comparison to family members of EU nationals who have exercised their right to move to Ireland as another Member State.
We have received several queries regarding decisions issued by the Visa Office refusing entry into the State for non-EU spouses of Irish nationals. Such decisions cause great stress and anxiety for many Irish nationals who are angry at the way their cases have been handled by the State. We are currently involved in several cases in which we have submitted weighty appeals and applications in an attempt to re-unite our clients with their spouses. We believe that there is a huge gap in the law and the policy of the Department of Justice and Law Reform (formerly the Department of Justice, ‘Equality’ and Law Reform) regarding spouses of Irish citizens and this must be reviewed. It is apparent that there is an anomaly when applying the principles of EU law in that it seems that a State should protect and uphold the rights of union citizens who have exercised their right of free movement, whilst at the same time failing to afford the same protection to a union citizen of that Member State who has not exercised their rights under Free Movement.
We invite your feedback and comments on this issue, in particular if you are an Irish national or a spouse of an Irish national with an application or appeal outstanding. We would be happy to hear your experiences and share further insights into this difficult issue.