The Upper Tribunal in the UK made a preliminary reference last week to the Court of Justice of the European Union on the rights of residence of parents with children over 21 years who they are caring for.
In Alarape and anr (Article 12, EC Reg 1612/68) Nigeria  UKUT 00413(IAC) (AIRE Centre intervening) the Tribunal held that the term "child" in Article 12 of Regulation (EEC No.1612/68 (now Article 10 Regulation (EU) No. 492/2011) which guarantees a right of access to education - should be interpreted to include "stepchild".
The Tribunal also referred a series of questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union, including:
1. For a parent to qualify as a “primary carer” so as to derive a right of residence from a child over 21 exercising a right of access to education under Article 12 Regulation No. 1612/68 [see now Article 10 Regulation (EU) No. 492/2011], is it necessary for that child to be (i) dependent on such a parent; (ii) residing in that parent’s household; and (iii) receiving emotional support from that parent?
2. If in order to qualify for such a derived right of residence it is unnecessary for a parent to show that all three of the above circumstances obtain, is it sufficient to show that only one obtains or that only two obtain?
3. In relation to (ii) above, can there continue to be residence on the part of an adult student child in a common household with his parent(s) even when the former is living away from home for the duration of his studies (save for holidays and occasional weekends)?
4. In relation to (iii) above, is it necessary for the emotional support provided by the parent to be of a particular quality (viz. close or physically proximate) or is it sufficient if it consists in a normal emotional tie between a parent and an adult child?
5. Where a person has held an EU right of residence under Article 12 of Regulation No. 1612/68 [see now Article 10 Regulation (EU) No. 492/2011] for a continuous period of more than five years, does such residence qualify for the purposes of acquiring a right of permanent residence under Chapter IV of Directive 2004/38/EC (the Citizens Directive) on “Right of Permanent Residence) and being issued with a residence card under Article 19 of the same Directive?
While it is likely to be some time before the Court provides guidance on the above questions, such clarification will be helpful in ascertaining to what extent applicants can derive a right of residence arising from their relationship with their children, irrespective of the fact that they are no longer minor children. Our current experience is that the Department is reluctant to take into account a relationship between a parent and an adult child, even where emotional ties and dependencies are evidenced. A parent, relying on EU Treaty Rights, will ordinarily need to advance independent grounds before the Department to be successful in retaining their right to reside.
We will keep you updated on the progress of this reference and look forward to hearing any comments you might have.