Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Questions (66)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

66. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a non-EEA citizen who is resident here for more than a decade and married to an Irish citizen is not eligible for EU status for third level fees and free fees in view of the fact a similar non-EEA citizen married to a non-Irish EU citizen and resident here for a similar period and therefore having EU treaty rights is eligible for EU status for third level fees and free fees. [41329/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Department of Justice and Equality adjudicates on a person’s entitlement to remain in the State and on the stamp that is awarded where permission to remain is sanctioned.

All applicants for the Free Fees initiative must meet the prescribed criteria of the scheme including residency and nationality. 

The position is that EU Directive 2004/38/EC as given effect by S.I No 656/2006 European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) (No 2) regulations 2006 and subsequently S.I. No. 548/2015 - European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 cover the rights of EU nationals, and their family members, who move from one member State to another.

The  Free Fees Initiative recognises those awarded a Stamp 4 EUFam as meeting the nationality criteria of the scheme.

As noted by INIS, Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the EU and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States applies only to Union citizens who move to or reside in a Member State other than that of which they are a national. Exceptions to this apply only in cases where the non-EEA national family member has previously held a residence card of a family member of a Union citizen which has been issued by another Member State under Article 10 of the Directive.  Further queries on the provisions of the legislation are a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality.

 Notwithstanding the above, I have asked my officials to consider the matter further in tandem with colleagues in the Department of Justice and Equality, who lead in such matters.