(CN) - The dependants of third-country nationals in the EU need not show an inability to support themselves in their home countries to obtain residency, Europe's highest court ruled Thursday.
Philippines citizen Flora Reyes - whose mother became an EU citizen and currently lives in Sweden - tried unsuccessfully to obtain a residency permit from Swedish authorities in 2011 when she was 24. Officials said that while the mother and her Norwegian husband regularly sent Reyes money, Reyes failed to show that she relied on the money exclusively for her existence to be considered a dependent.
On appeal, a Stockholm immigration court asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to clarify whether adult children of EU residents must show that they have exhausted their options to find employment and support themselves in their home countries in order to be considered dependents in the EU.
The Luxembourg-based high court acknowledged Thursday that, while adult children must show they are dependent on their EU-citizen parents, immigration officials need not determine the reasons in order to make them residents.
"The fact that, in circumstances such as those in question in the main proceedings, a Union citizen regularly, for a significant period, pays a sum of money to that descendant, necessary in order for him to support himself in the state of origin, is such as to show that the descendant is in a real situation of dependence vis-à-vis that citizen," the court wrote. "In those circumstances, that descendant cannot be required, in addition, to establish that he has tried without success to find work or obtain subsistence support from the authorities of his country of origin and/or otherwise tried to support himself."
Such requirements would make it "excessively difficult" for dependents to obtain residency permits, according to the ruling. In the case of Reyes, moreover, the evidence already shows that the woman is dependent on her mother for support.
"That requirement obliges that descendant to take more complicated steps, such as trying to obtain various certificates stating that he has not found any work or obtained any social allowance, than that of obtaining a document of the competent authority of the state of origin or the state from which the applicant came attesting to the existence of a situation of dependence," the court wrote. "The court has already held that such a document cannot constitute a condition for the issue of a residence permit."
The court also rejected the suggestion that Reyes can't be considered a true dependent since she intends to find work and appears well qualified to do so.
"As the European Commission has rightly pointed out, the opposite solution would in practice prohibit that descendant from looking for employment in the host member state and would accordingly infringe EU law, which expressly authorizes such a descendant, if he has the right of residence, to take up employment or self-employment," the court concluded.