03/06/2008

EU To Rule On Irish Deportation Of Non-EU Spouses

The EU high court is to hear a landmark case on whether non-EU spouses of European citizens in Ireland can be legally deported.

The hearing involves four cases of non-Irish European citizens living in Ireland who are married to non-EU spouses that failed in their applications for asylum.

The four couples lodged an appeal with the High Court against the "notice of intent to deport" orders, arguing they breach EU law, and particularly their right to live and work in any EU state.

The European Court of Justice case is widely anticipated to set a precedent for thousands of other couples residing in Ireland and, more widely, better define the rights of EU states to manage their own immigration policies.

The four applicants are expected to argue that the European Free Movement Directive passed in 2004 provides the necessary legal right for non-EU spouses of EU citizens to move freely within the Union.

This will be contested by the Government, which argues that this directive deals only with movement within the Union and not entry to it.

The Government said it was correctly implementing an immigration law it passed in April 2007, which lays down that non-EU relatives of an EU citizen must reside lawfully in another EU state before being permitted to work and live here.

(DW)


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