ECJ Chavez-Vilchez ruling
On May 10, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rendered a crucial judgment on the rights of residence in the European Union for third-country nationals (TCN) parents who have children with a Dutch national and live in the EU.
Context of the ruling
The eight disputes in the case related to applications for social assistance (bijstandsuitkering) and child benefit (kinderbijslag), submitted to the competent Netherlands authorities on the basis of the Law on social assistance and the Law on child benefit, by third-country nationals who are each mothers of one or more children of Netherlands nationality, whose fathers are also of Netherlands nationality.
The request was made in proceedings between, on the one hand, Ms H.C. Chavez-Vilchez and seven other third-country nationals, who are each mothers of one or more minor children who are of Netherlands nationality and for whose primary day-to-day care they are responsible, and, on the other, the competent Netherlands authorities, concerning the refusal of their applications for social assistance and child benefit, on the ground that they did not have a right of residence in the Netherlands.
Expansion of the legal rights of the TCN parent
On this basis, the ruling established right of residence should be granted to a TCN parent of a minor with the nationality of an EU Member State when the relationship between the child and TCN parent is of such strong dependency, that in case this parent is denied residence the child would be obliged to leave the EU. In addition, the ruling considered it insufficient when the other parent with the nationality of an EU Member State is capable and willing to take care of the child. As a result of the Chavez-Vilchez ruling, Dutch policy was amended. Prior to this ruling, in the case that a Dutch parent was capable and willing to take care of the child, this was sufficient for the right of residence of the TCN parent to be denied. The judgment, therefore, expanded the legal residence rights for foreign nationals who are the parent of a minor Dutch national and who can prove their parental and dependent relationship to the Dutch minor.
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