Thursday, 4 November 2004

Questions (165)

Enda Kenny

Question:

162 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if it is a requirement of his Department that in order for non-EU nationals, validly issued with work visas, to bring their spouses and children here they must be in receipt of a net income equivalent to the eligibility limit on income for family income supplement from their employer; if so, the way in which his Department assesses this as being an income necessary to live on; the way in which this breakdown is assessed for cases of a spouse and one child and a spouse and two children respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27635/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I have responsibility for policy on family reunion, that is, the policy on granting permission to enter and remain in the State to the spouses and children of non-EEA nationals who are legally resident in the State. This includes the spouses and dependant children of non-EEA nationals who have entered the State for work purposes.

I fully acknowledge that family reunion policy should recognise the needs of persons coming to Ireland to work and be in accordance with the broad needs of the Irish economy, including the safeguarding of public resources. In the case of visa required family members of non-EEA national workers, the general rule is that it is only after the worker has been in the State for 12 months and has been offered employment for a further 12 months that they may be joined by their families. This is subject to the worker being able to support the family without recourse to public funds.

There is no general time restriction in operation with regard to family reunion where the family members in question are not visa required. The only caveat, again, is that the worker in question must be in a position to support the family without recourse to public funds.

When assessing applications for family reunification, the visa officer will consider, amongst other things, whether the level of salary of the worker would come within the ambit of qualifying for payment from public funds. In this regard, the criteria set by the Department of Social and Family Affairs for eligibility for family income supplement payment, FIS, is used. The criteria, which may change from time to time, are available on that Department's websitewww.welfare.ie/publications/sw22.html. If the level of the worker’s income as evidenced by his or her payslips or P60 would qualify for FIS payments, the application for family reunification is generally refused as it is evident that the family can seek recourse to public funds.