Family reunification is the system operated in Ireland to allow non EEA Nationals to apply for residence based on their relationship with someone already entitled to reside in the state. Applicants can be immediate family i.e. a spouse and children under the age of 18, de facto partners, parents and other family members. The closer the relationship is, the more likely an application is to succeed.
Family reunification will be facilitated as far as possible where family members meet certain criteria. However, each case must be considered on its merits. The State must strike a fair balance between the competing interests of the applicant and the community as a whole.
In order to succeed in an application, the family relationship must be genuine.
Sponsors will have to achieve minimum levels of earnings prior to being eligible to sponsor a family member. This will be set at a cumulative gross earnings figure of €40k over 3 years where the sponsor is an Irish citizen and a higher level where the sponsor is a non-EEA national. Social welfare payments will not be reckonable as earnings for this purpose. The financial thresholds will rise significantly where the application is made in respect of a dependent elderly parent. Any grant of immigration status in such cases will be subject to strict conditions aimed at protecting the public purse. These will include medical insurance and financial guarantees.
Applications for family reunification shall generally be refused where there is a threat to public security, public policy or health. Another important consideration for the state when assessing applications is that the applicant must not be a burden on the public purse i.e. the EEA resident family member must have enough resources to enable the applicant to live independently of the state.
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