Ireland’s Department of Justice announced on Monday that, effective 1 June 2010, non-EU family members of EU/EEA nationals looking to settle in Ireland will not be granted the right to work while their applications are in process. Approval of EU/EEA family member settlement applications can take several months.

Previously, family members of EU/EEA nationals were granted a “stamp 4” while their applications were pending. From June, they will be given a “Stamp 3”, which, in the Department’s words, “will allow the applicant to remain in Ireland on conditions that the holder does not enter into employment, does not engage in business or profession and does not remain later than a specified date. This stamp will be provided for the period of the application process only (i.e. a maximum of six months).

This new arrangement has already come under fire from various immigrant groups. Pro-Link GLOBAL notes additionally that this places married partners of EU/EEA nationals on an inferior footing, in immigration terms, to both de facto partners of Irish nationals and non-EU Green Card holders seeking to extend their stay upon expiry of the Green Card – in both the latter categories, an interim ”Stamp 4” is issued, which allows work. The Irish Times commented yesterday that it was possible that the Irish government would be taken to the European Court of Justice over the U-turn in policy.

Contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration specialist for advice on Irish immigration or visit our Ireland country profile here for more information.