The State is entitled to cite financial costs as a reason for refusing refugees the right to bring family members to live with them in the State, the Supreme Court has ruled.
However, a Somali man whose family reunification application was refused is entitled to bring in his mother and young sister because the refusal was outside the range of proportionate decisions open to the Minister for Justice, the five-judge court also ruled.
Mr Justice Frank Clarke, giving the unanimous judgment, dismissed an appeal by the Minister against a High Court decision quashing the refusal. The High Court had found the automatic entitlement of certain family members to reunification under section 18 of the 1996 Refugee Act could not be refused on the basis the people involved would be dependent on the State for financial support.
The High Court also found no lawful or proper proportionality assessment of the “burden of supporting dependants” had taken place. The 29-year-old came as an asylum seeker in 2007 and later sought reunification with members of his family including his wife, daughter, mother and four of his siblings.