Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Recently, we have been granted leave on a number of High Court Judicial Review proceedings against the Minister for Justice and Equality for failure to properly assess applications for family reunification for dependent parents. These cases have involved applicants who are Irish citizens or possess permanent residence in Ireland, and who have Irish citizen children, and have demonstrated the necessary financial means to support their parents so as not to place financial burden on the state. They have also demonstrated that their parents are in fact dependent on them financially, socially and emotionally, many of them having severe medical conditions and health problems, with no viable options for care and support in their home countries. In one particular case, medical evidence was provided confirming that one of the applicant’s parents could not to undertake long haul flights and this information was not considered.

The main issue that has arisen is the Ministers reliance on the INIS’s Policy Document on Non-EEA Family reunification. This document places rigorous hurdles on applicants stating that a “Highly restrictive approach should be taken”, citing the states inability to take on the potential financial liability of elderly dependent parents.

The financial thresholds for a sponsor of one dependent parent is a requirement to evidence earnings of €60,000 gross for the three years preceding the application, and 75,000 gross for inviting two parents.

Whilst our clients have good earnings, and demonstrated a strong ability to financially support their parents, they were unable to meet the high level of finances required.

No consideration was carried out that our clients sought only to acquire a Stamp 0 permission for their dependant parents - it is an express condition of residence that the applicant is not entitled to claim any state benefit.

Disregard was paid to the applicants rights as a family afforded by Article 41 of the constitution, section3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 8, and European Union law. In refusing the applications, the minister failed to asses these protections, stating that the applicants’ rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights would be fully considered if, and when, the deportation process is initiated against the second and third named applicants pursuant to section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999. We submit that this failure to fully weigh and assess the applicants rights render these decisions unlawful.

We would also highlight that the INIS policy document is not legally binding, and unfettered reliance may ultimately be unlawful due to its failure to recognise and adequately vindicate the safeguards and protections afforded to permanent residents rights of the family.
Karen Berkeley

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