Friday, July 25, 2008

European Court rewards sham marriages

In yet another encroachment by European bureaucrats on internal Irish affairs, the European Court of Justice has ruled that Ireland must grant residency to the spouses of EU citizens. The case concerned four couples living in Ireland who appealed a decision by the Irish government to deport them because their spouses - the husband in each case - was not an EU citizen and had never lived lawfully in another EU member state.Under EU law, EU citizens can work, study and live in any of the 27 member states. Under Irish law a spouse from outside the European Union must have lived in another member state first in order to get residency rights. However the court ruled that this is in breach of EU law on the free movement of citizens. "The right of a national of a non-member country who is a family member of a Union citizen to accompany or join that citizen cannot be made conditional on prior lawful residence in another member state," said the court ruling. "The [EU law] applies to all Union citizens who move to or reside in a member state other than that of which they are a national, and to their family members who accompany them or join them in that member state." The court also said that a non-EU citizen can benefit from the law on rights of spouses "irrespective of when and where their marriage took place and of how that spouse entered the host member state." European law states that all EU citizens and their family members can work, study and live in any of the 27 member states, provided they have a residency permit in the member state.

The case was taken by four African men - who had been denied residency here - against the Department of Justice. One of the plaintfiffs was Cameroon national Blaise Metock, who came to Ireland in 2006 and married fellow Cameroonian Ngo Ikeng, who had residency in Ireland and UK citizenship. Another case concerned Roland Chinedu from Nigeria. In 2006, he married German national Marlene Babucke, who was living in Ireland but was refused residency rights. But the ruling is set to make the rights of member states on their immigration policies clearer.It states that the host member state "is, however, entitled to impose penalties, in compliance with the directive, for entry into and residence in its territory in breach of the national rules on immigration." In the light of persistent reports that the residency-rule is being abused for people-trafficking - such as reported by Jim Cusack in the Irish Independent - this ruling will be a cause of great concern for an Irish public already concerned by the stormclouds of recession and the huge rise in unemployment, which has already risen to 5.7% and which economists believe will spiral to 7% in 2009. Cusack reported on a scam involving the payment of thousands of euro to Latvian women by Pakistani nationals to attain residency in Ireland. After today's ruling, the word has gone out across the developing-world that the institution of marriage can be used to circumvent the immigration-controls of Western Europe. In this context, it becomes all the more essential that Justice Minister Dermot Ahern stand firm against pressure from leftwing elites to back down on his Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill which will tighten controls on marriage by non-EU nationals. Today's ruling evokes echoes of the Chen case, whereby a Chinese woman attained residency rights arising from her child being an EU citizen by virtue of being born on the island of Ireland. As in 2004, a loophole has emerged that must be closed, not merely to fulfill our responsibility to our own citizens, but also to fulfill it to our European partners not to allow Ireland to become a backdoor to circumvent their immigration and residency-controls. Cases like these also demonstrate the federalist agenda of the ECJ, and strengthen the case for impeding passage of the Lisbon Treaty which enshrines the Charter of Fundamental Rights into European law. This situation cannot be allowed to stand.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe you are referring about another judgment ... the European Court of Justice confirmed that Ireland can continue taking measures against scam marriages but is prevented from assuming that every single marriage for which Ireland is the first Member State of entry of the third country member is a marriage of convenience. While this may be true in some cases, it is plainly wrong to apply to all couples. This is a clear case of 'presumption of a collective guilt'.

Anonymous said...

You like the Eu when it builds your Economy, your Airport and your roads but not when their citizens want to live with their spouses..

FutureTaoiseach said...

Anon, any money we got was paid for by the handing over of our fisheries to the Spaniards. And I remind you Ireland was supported in this courtcase by a number of other states so it isn't just us. There is a substantive issue here of marriages of convenience and the ECJ is frustrating legitimate efforts of member states to deal with it. This is not the EU we were told we signed-up for.