Secretary of State for the Home department V Muhammad Sazzadur Rahman, Fazly Rabby Islam and Mohibullah Rahman – Opinion of the Advocate General delivered March 27th 2012
We are frequently encountering cases concerning EU Treaty Rights Law relating to other family members and or so called permitted family members. The concept of dependency is often at the core of such cases many of which include dependent siblings of the spouse of the EU National who has already been permitted to reside in the State in conformity with Directive 2004/38EC. Many of our cases have proceeded to review stage for failure to establish that the non EEA family member is a ‘qualifying or permitted family member’ in accordance with the Directive. In other words, dependency has not been established. One of our cases concerns a 23 year old male suffering from brain damage pursuant to a life threatening operation he underwent in the State. His elder brother, who is the spouse of an EEA national lawfully residing in the State, together with his wife fully support the applicant both financially and emotionally. His medical bills and expenses are fully discharged by his brother and his brother’s wife who provide accommodation, money and full-time care to the applicant who remains unwell. We are currently awaiting a decision on whether the applicant will be permitted to remain in the State as a family member or a dependant on the EEA national and as a dependant on the spouse of the EEA national.
We draw your attention to last year’s decision of the ECJ in Rahman concerning the notion of a ‘dependant’ and Article 3 (2) of the Directive:
This case reviewed the conformity of UK legislation with Directive 2004/38EC.
The case involved a Bangladeshi national who married and Irish national who was working in the UK. His brother, half brother and nephew applied for residence permits in the UK as family members of a national of an EEA state.
Their original application was rejected by the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) and they appealed to the immigration judge who granted the application on the basis that they were dependants and directed that their case be considered in line 17(4) of the 2006 regulations which provides for the decision maker to exercise their discretion in such matters. The SSHD sought reconsideration of the case by the upper tribunal which decided to stay the proceedings stating that whilst the case raised a factual question as to whether or not there existed a situation of dependency, it also raised legal problems, the resolution of which required a clear understanding of the scope of the provisions of EU law. A number of different issues were raised.
The core issue was whether or no article 3(2) of the Directive requires a Member State to make legislative provision to facilitate entry to and or residence in a member state to the class of other family members who are not nationals of the European Union who can meet the requirements of article 10 (2) of that Directive?
Article 3(2) of the Directive stipulates that:
“ Without prejudice to any right to free movement and residence the persons concerned may have in their own right, the host Member State shall, in accordance with its national legislation, facilitate entry and residence for the following persons:
Any other family members, irrespective of their nationality (…) in the country from which they have come, are dependants or members of the household of the Union citizen having the primary right of residence, or where serious health grounds strictly require the personal care of the family member by the Union Citizen.
The Partner with whom the Union Citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested, The host Member State shall undertake and extensive examination of the personal circumstances and shall justify any denial of entry or residence to these people. “The court held that the ‘fundamental right to private and family life may, in principle be relied on by all categories of person mentioned in Article 3(2) of Directive 2004/38.’ The Court concluded that in this case Mr Rahman’s private and family life had been impaired by the failure of the UK authorities to issue residence permits to his brother, half brother and nephew.
It so follows that Art 3(2) ‘must be interpreted as requiring Member States to adopt the measures necessary to facilitate entry and residence in their territory for all persons coming within the scope of that provision. Additionally, the primary law of the EU ‘precludes a member state from refusing a national of a non member country who comes within the scope of that provision residence in its territory in the case where that national wishes to reside with a member of his family who is a Union citizen, where such a refusal has the effect of unjustifiably impeding the exercise of the Union citizen concerned to move freely within the territory of the member states or causes disproportionate impairment of his right o respect for private and family life.’
The Court surmised that Article 3(2) of Directive 2004 /38 must be interpreted to the effect that:
- It precludes national legislation which limits the scope of that provision to other members who resided in the same state as the Union national before the Union national came to the host Member State
- The notion of ‘dependent’ does not imply that dependency existed shortly before the Union national came to the Host Member state and..
- It does not preclude national legislation which makes entry and residence for a national of a non-members country subject to conditions as to the nature or duration of dependency, provided that those conditions pursue a legitimate objective, are appropriate for securing the attainment of that objective and do not go beyond what is necessary to attain it.
We will keep you posted as to our further developments on cases concerning dependent family members of EU nationals.