Non-Irish using fake marriages in bid to secure legal residency
Monday September 10 2007
Five hundred of the 3,000 applications lodged by non-Irish married couples, who want to live here, were from failed asylum seekers, it emerged last night.
And others have been accused of arranging marriages of convenience to circumvent the regulations.
A decision by the Government to issue notice of intention to deport non-EU spouses, who do not qualify to stay here, has infuriated immigrants' rights groups.
But figures revealed last night show that the notices were issued to only 120 of the total of 3,119 spouses who are seeking permanent residency here.
They also disclose that 400 of the applications came from Pakistani students, about half of whom married Latvians within a short time of arriving here.
Controversy surrounded Ireland's interpretation of an EU directive designed to give greater legal protection to EU citizens and their families.
However, a recent High Court judgment upheld the interpretation and ruled that the Department of Justice had the right to insist that spouses of non-Irish EU citizens, who were not from the EU themselves, must live legally in another member state before moving to Ireland.
Senior immigration sources said last night that the judgment showed that the Irish interpretation was a fair, generous and correct one.
“Five hundred of these applicants had already been rejected by the immigration procedures when they sought to stay here with refugee status, and now they are trying to find another way to remain,” one source said.
“And then we find that around 50pc of the Pakistani students involved in the applications all married Latvians within a relatively short period of arrival in the country.
“There are concerns that some of these people are abusing an EU directive,” the source added.
Evidence available to the authorities, from advertisements in newspapers abroad and from the unusual marriage patterns of some applicants, was that some people were entering into marriages of convenience to avail of residency rights under the EU directive, the sources said.
Despite those numbers, the sources added, notice of intention to deport had been restricted to 120 applicants and they had the right to challenge the notice by making a submission to the Minister for Justice.
Since the court judgment was issued two months ago, the authorities have issued 251 residence certificates to non-EU national spouses, who meet the requirements of the regulations signed by the minister.
Refusals were sent out to 279 non-EU applicants, who could not prove evidence of having been lawfully resident in another member state, prior to coming to Ireland. As they were legally resident in the State under other conditions when they applied, they can seek to regularise their status in the State by renewing their original permission to remain.
Since the judgment, 76 people, who applied for EU treaty rights, have been issued deportation intention notices. At the time of their applications, they had no legal permission to reside in Ireland.
In deciding whether to make a deportation order, the minister must take account of the person's age, duration of residence in the State, family and domestic circumstances, the person's connection with the State, employment record and prospects, character and conduct including criminal convictions.