High Court to rule on non-EU foreign national rights on grounds of marriage

State concerned over potentially fraudulent visa applications and use as back door to UK

A High Court judgment due next month will affect how the State deals with non-EU nationals asserting their right to come here on the basis that they are married to EU citizens resident elsewhere in the EU.

Minister for Justice and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald briefed the Cabinet on Tuesday about what she said was a worrying rise in applications originating from the UK under an EU directive.

Ten thousand applications originated from the UK last year and 5,000 in the first half of this year, compared to 1,800 in 2014, spurred by tighter rules in the United Kingdom.

However, a reserved judgment expected next month from Ms Justice Mary Faherty could significantly affect the treatment of such visa applications.

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The State argues that the system is having difficulty coping with the number of applications, but also that it has a legitimate concern about potentially fraudulent applications and that Ireland might be used as a “back door” to the UK.

The EU directive gives EU citizens who move to another EU state the right to have their spouses join them, even if they are resident outside the EU.

Residents of some countries nevertheless require a visa.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent