EU Sets Residency Rules for Migrant Divorcees

     (CN) – Immigrants married to EU citizens living in member states other than their own have no right to remain when the citizen leaves the state and files for divorce, the EU high court ruled Thursday.
     The case involves three men from India, Cameroon and Egypt who married EU citizens living in Ireland. In all three instances, the wives left Ireland and filed for divorce – two in their home states and one in the United Kingdom.
     Irish immigration authorities denied the men’s request to remain, finding that under EU law their right to residence ended when their wives left the Emerald Isle and filed for divorce elsewhere.
     Ireland’s high court asked the European Court of Justice to weigh in with its interpretation the EU’s complicated residency law – which also includes a provision that third-country nationals can remain in a home member state when their marriage to EU citizens has lasted at least three years.
     On Thursday, the Luxembourg-based court ruled the law requires third-country nationals to move with their citizen spouses when the spouse exercises her constitutional right to freedom of movement and settles in another EU state.
     Where – as in this case – the spouses move and then file for divorce in a different member state than the couple resided, the immigrant spouse loses the right of residence in the member state where the couple had lived, the court said.
     The high court concluded by noting that member states have latitude to grant more extensive protections to immigrants than what EU law offers.
     Since the start of proceedings, Irish authorities have granted all three men temporary – but renewable – permission to continue living and working in Ireland, the court said.

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