Sinnott Solicitors are delighted to report that the High Court last week overturned a decision of the Minister for Justice to refuse a Permanent Residence Card to our client in the case of N.K and A.R v Minister for Justice 2020.195.JR.  The Judgment we submit is an important precedent in a case which involved marriage of convenience allegations against our client.

The first applicant is a citizen of Hungary and the EU working in the State. The second applicant, a Pakistani national, is her husband. They married in November 2012 and worked together running a fast food business in the State. The EU citizen also worked as a java developer for a Hungarian-based company, working remotely.

In 2013, the husband applied for and was granted a residence card as the qualifying family member of an EU national. In April 2018, he applied for a permanent-residence card. That application was refused at first instance, and later on review by letter dated 14 January 2020. In that decision, the Minister made findings that she wasn’t satisfied that the first applicant is living or genuinely employed or self-employed in the State. Further, the Minister found that the marriage is one of convenience.

Na decisão impugnada de 14 de janeiro de 2020, o Ministro afirmou entre outros em sua primeira página:

[Seus representantes legais] alegam, também, que o cidadão da UE é empregado de uma empresa húngara, mas trabalha remotamente da Irlanda. Considera-se, no entanto, que a documentação fornecida em relação a este acordo de trabalho remoto é escasso e insuficiente.

Nossos clientes enviaram uma carta do empregador de cidadãos da UE na Hungria, que confirmou o seguinte:

”…Ela é programadora Java e trabalha online conosco. Ela não está fisicamente presente em nosso escritório, trabalhando em casa na Irlanda, onde reside em tempo integral com o marido.

Espero que isto seja do seu agrado e caso necessite de qualquer outra informação não hesite em contactar-me.

Essa carta estava em papel timbrado e continha o número de telefone da empresa, o endereço de e-mail, o endereço do site e o número de discagem direta dos diretores administrativos do escritor. No entanto, o Ministro não tomou medidas para verificar o conteúdo da carta, apesar de expressar a opinião de que “a documentação fornecida em relação a este acordo de trabalho remoto foi escasso e insuficiente. ”

Our clients instituted Judicial Review proceedings against the Minister for Justice challenging the refusal.  In these proceedings it was submitted that the Respondent Minister for Justice took no steps to verify the employer letter as well as referring to the fact that the Minister referred to unspecified information from An Garda Síochána and Hungarian authorities in refusing the application however failed to give reasons for it.  The Minister for Justice at no time took any steps to verify the letter from the EU Citizen’s employer in Hungary.

Delivering Judgment in the matter last week Mr Justice Meenan in the High Court quashed the decision of the Minister for Justice to refuse our clients’ Permanent Residence Card.  The Judge in his decision focused on the failure of the Minister for Justice to verify the authenticity of the letter from the EU Citizen’s employer.  At paragraph 26 of the Judgment, the Court held as follows:

“Sem realizar uma etapa básica de tentar verificar a autenticidade desta carta, não vejo como o réu poderia validamente dar tal motivo. Tanto mais que o inquirido estava claramente em contacto com as autoridades húngaras. Não estou sugerindo que cabia ao entrevistado iniciar um inquérito no estilo Garda. Tudo o que era necessário eram algumas consultas básicas.

 In conclusion, on this submission, I find that the respondent failed in her duty to give reasons as, without basic inquiries, she was not in a position to do so. “ 

See full judgment here: 2020 195 JR – N.K. ANOR. -V- THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

The matter will now be remitted to the Minister for Justice for reconsideration.

Sinnott Solicitors are delighted with the decision of the High Court not only for our clients in the case, but all immigration applicants whose documentation is often dismissed by the decision maker in immigration applications without carrying out a thorough examination of same.