The Zambrano decision of the European Court of Justice stated that Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union precludes a Member State from refusing a third country national upon whom his minor children, who are EU citizens, are dependent, a right of residence in the Member State of residence and nationality of those children, and from refusing to grant a work permit to that third country national, in so far as such decisions deprive those children of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights attaching to the status of European Union citizen.
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter stated that in respect of the judgment against Beligum, the Irish Government has agreed to take a more proactive approach than to require each third country national upon whom his or her minor children, who are EU citizens, are dependent, to seek leave to reside and work in the State through the Irish courts. Minister Shatter stated that the Government “should make a clear statement of its intention to take early action in these cases, insofar as it is unnecessary to await rulings of the Courts. We should not tie up the courts unnecessarily or ask eligible families to wait longer than necessary. Accordingly, I have asked my officials to carry out an urgent examination of all cases before the courts (approximately 120 at present) involving Irish citizen children to which the Zambrano judgment may be relevant.”
The Minister also stated that “I have also asked my officials to examine the cases in the Department in which the possibility of deportation is being considered in order to ascertain the number of cases in which there is an Irish citizen child and to which the Zambrano judgment is relevant. In addition, consideration will be given to those cases of Irish Citizen children who have left the state whose parents were refused permission to remain. This initiative is being taken in the best interests of the welfare of eligible minor Irish citizen children and to ensure that the taxpayer is not exposed to any unnecessary additional legal costs.”