Judge rejects man’s challenge to loss of residency over ‘marriage of convenience’

By March 25, 2020 No Comments

Nigerian had fraudulently applied in March 2015 for a second residence card

A Nigerian man has lost his High Court challenge to a decision revoking his residency here on foot of a finding his marriage to a Dutch national was a marriage of convenience.

The man fraudulently applied in March 2015 for a second residence card based on the marriage when the Dutch woman, whom he married in 2009, had left the State no later than early 2014, though there was evidence suggesting she left earlier than that, Mr Justice Max Barrett said.

The woman was a named sponsor for several EU residence card applications in the United Kingdom for another Nigerian national on dates in 2010 and 2016, he observed.

The judge, for reasons including the man had repeatedly behaved falsely towards the Minister for Justice over a protracted period and never expressed remorse for that when caught out, rejected his judicial review challenge to the Minister’s July 2018 revocation of his residence.

In his recently published judgment, the judge said the man married the woman in May 2009 after coming here without permission in late 2008. The man appeared not to know her surname when it came to his court documents, getting it wrong until the Minister’s side got it right after which he used her correct surname, the judge observed.

In November 2009, he got his first residence card on the basis his wife was exercising her free movement rights here. In March 2015, he got a second residence card after claiming she was still exercising her free movement rights here when she had left no later than early 2014.

That application was fraudulent and in subversion of the law of Ireland and the EU, the judge said. Because the woman had left Ireland, the man had no derivative rights by reason of her exercise of free movement rights here.

In June 2018, the Minister notified the man he considered his marriage was one of convenience and said the woman had been the named sponsor for residence applications in the UK for another Nigerian national at the same time as being the basis for the man’s application.

The clear inference was that the woman was in some form of relationship with the second Nigerian national, the judge said.

The UK applications were also based on her residence in the UK between 2010 and 2016 when this applicant claimed he was living with her here until early 2014. Having regard to all these matters, the Minister in late July 2018 revoked the applicant’s second residence card.

The judge rejected arguments the man was entitled to succeed on the basis the Minister had applied an incorrect burden of proof or had inadequate evidence for his decision.

The man had not secured leave for judicial review on the basis of advancing incorrect burden of proof arguments as that issue was never raised before the judge who granted leave, he said.

He also found there was “ample” evidence before the Minister to show the man’s credibility and the reliability of the documents provided by him was “suspect”.

The man had failed to explain how and why he came to play “fast and loose” over a protracted period with the immigration/EU Treaty rights processes, he said. All of these matters, and the man’s failure to dispel concerns raised by the Minister with him, offered a “more than sufficient” basis for the Minister’s decision, he ruled.