UPDATE ON VISA APPLICATIONS PURSUANT TO DIRECTIVE 2004/38/EC AND THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS) REGULATIONS 2015
We have recently commented on the case of Mahmood and Atif v Minister for Justice and Equality, judgment delivered on 14th October 2016.
In this case, Justice Faherty found that a processing time in excess of 6 months to process a visa application submitted by the spouse of an EU Citizen to be an unlawful breach of Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015. Justice Faherty ordered that the visa application in question be determined within a six-week period.
We are still working on a large number of cases involving very substantial delays in the processing of visas for family members of EU Citizens under the Directive and Regulations. Many of our clients have waited in excess of one year and have still not received a decision, or even an update on the status of the visa applications for their family members. We submit that such waiting times are a clear and inexcusable breach of the Directive and Regulations 4 and 5 of the 2015 Regulations.
Despite highlighting the delays involved to the INIS Visa Offices, many of our clients have been left with no option but to pursue their cases through the High Court in order for a decision to be reached on the visa applications for their family members.
We highlight that the INIS Visa Office webpage states that join family visas for other family members, who are not covered by the provisions of the above-mentioned Directive and Regulations that were submitted as of 1st June 2016, are now under consideration. This would amount to a processing period of in and around six months. With this in mind, we submit that visas pursuant to the Directive and Regulations are not being processed on the basis of “an accelerated procedure” where many such applications are now taking well in excess of one year to process.