Facts: The claimants were two parents and their child, who was under the age of two. The parents previously applied for international protection and their applications were unsuccessful. They were then subject to deportation orders.
Their child was born in April 2021 and an application was made for international protection in respect of the child. The parents contended that they should have been granted labour market access, as provided in the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018, by virtue of their child being an international protection applicant. The child had since been granted refugee status and the parent’s status was regularised in September 2022 as part of the Regularisation Scheme. The parents challenged the refusal to grant them labour market access permission by way of judicial review in the High Court.
Reasoning: In the High Court, Simons J. held that the parents did not have a vicarious right to work vis-à-vis their child. He recalled that normal age restrictions that apply to all children in the State also applied to the child in this case and that the child did not have a right to work and therefore the parents could not have a vicarious right to work.
As to whether the parents had a derived right to work, Simons J. recognised that the CJEU has held that the parents of a minor EU citizen may enjoy a derived right of residence and a work permit. The claimants submitted that to meet the special reception needs of the child and to ensure the child had an adequate standard of living, as required by the recast Reception Conditions Directive 2013/33/EU, the parents should have been granted labour market access. Simons J. dismissed this argument, highlighting how under the Directive the obligation is on the Member State to provide material reception conditions and that the Directive does not require Member States to extend access to the labour market to persons who are not the applicant themselves.
Decision: The case was dismissed. It was held that an infant child does not have a right to work in the Irish State, not only under the recast Reception Conditions Directive, but under national law. Thus, the parents could not vicariously exercise a right that the child did not hold. The parents also could not derive a right to work from the child applicant.