EU OK’s Income Rule for Family Reunification

     (CN) — EU states may refuse family-reunification applications by permanent legal residents when applicants lack the financial resources and stability to support their families, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday.
     The case stems from a permanent legal resident of Spain who in 2012 applied to be reunited with his family in Spain. Authorities there denied the man’s application, finding that under Spanish law he lacked sufficient resources to support his family if they came — and authorities doubted that his financial position would improve enough within a year to grant his application.
     Hearing the man’s appeal, a Basque court expressed doubts as to the legality of Spain’s requirement of financial stability for family reunification under EU law and asked the European Court of Justice to weigh in.
     In a 6-page ruling issued Thursday, the Luxembourg-based high court said Spain’s law is compatible with EU law. Specifically, the court noted that EU law allows member states to demand proof that sponsors have stable and regular income to maintain not only themselves but the family members they bring in, without having to resort to member states’ social welfare programs to survive.
     The court noted that while EU law doesn’t explicitly say that member states may also look at the future financial stability of sponsors, it doesn’t preclude authorities from doing so either.
     “Although that provision makes no explicit mention of such a possibility, it nonetheless follows from the actual wording thereof, in particular the use of the words ‘stable’ and ‘regular,’ that those financial resources must have a certain degree of permanence and continuity,” the court wrote. “In that regard, according to the second sentence of the directive the member states are to assess those resources by reference to their ‘regularity,’ which entails a periodic analysis of the pattern of those resources.”
     The court also said that since the law also allows for the possibility to deport family members when a sponsor’s financial condition changes, giving member states the authority to require a year’s worth of financial stability is reasonable and proportionate under EU law.

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