PQ: Family Reunification Applications

Wed, June 4, 2014

157. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is an automatic right for non-EEA nationals, who are immediate family members, that is children under age 18 and spouses, of Irish citizens, to qualify for a joint spouse or point parent visa in order that they can migrate to Ireland if the member of the family who is an Irish citizen can prove an ability to financially provide for the family.

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): There is no automatic right for any non-EEA national to enter the State for the purpose family reunification with an Irish citizen. Guidelines regarding family reunification were set out in a policy document published last December and the intention of these guidelines is to provide greater transparency and more comprehensive and consistent standards in respect of applications where non-EEA nationals seek to come to live in Ireland on the basis of their relationship with an Irish citizen or with another non-EEA national entitled to reside here. The guidelines are available on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website at www.inis.gov.ie.

Family reunification policy should strike a fair balance between the sometimes competing interests of the individuals concerned and society in general.

One of the key principles underpinning this balance of interests is that family reunification should not cause an undue burden on the public finances. Therefore, in general, the Irish citizen sponsor must be in a position to support such family members by not having been totally or predominantly reliant on State benefits from the Irish State for a continuous period in excess of two years immediately prior to the application and must, over the three year period prior to the application, have earned a cumulative gross income over and above any State benefits of not less than €40,000.

All family reunification applications are dealt with on a case by case basis and it should of course be borne in mind that financial capacity is just one of the conditions that is considered.

Finally, policy on family reunification here is broadly in line with that in other EU Member States.

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