Ireland’s practice of refusing to give some parents of Irish children permission to live and work in this country must now end after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today ruled such immigration policies were in breach of European law, Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) senior solicitor Hilkka Becker said today.

Ms Becker said those parents who had already been deported must now be allowed to return.

The Court of Justice of the European Union today delivered its judgement in the case of Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (in Belguim), which ruled that: “Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union must be interpreted as meaning that it precludes a Member State from refusing a third country national upon whom his minor children, who are European Citizens, are dependent, a right of residence in the Member State of residence and nationality of those children, and from refusing to grant a work permit to that third country national, in so far as such decisions deprive those children of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights attaching to the status of European citizen”.

Ms Becker said the ruling would have major implications for Ireland.

“Put simply, what this means in practice is that Irish children have a right to live with their parents in Ireland and for their parents to work and provide for them within the State,” Ms Becker said.

“No longer will families be allowed to be separated unless there is a truly exceptional reason.

“The Immigrant Council has worked with many families separated by our immigration rules and suffering real anguish and financial hardship as a result.

“We are delighted with this ruling.”