Minister for Justice refused appeal over Canadian woman's visa extension

Jaimee Middelkamp works as a legal secretary and supports her Canadian husband who is studying to become a dentist in UCC under a student visa.
Minister for Justice refused appeal over Canadian woman's visa extension

The Minister for Justice and Equality has been refused permission to appeal a High Court decision quashing a refusal to extend a Canadian woman's two-year visa.

Jaimee Middelkamp works as a legal secretary and supports her Canadian husband who is studying to become a dentist in University College Cork under a student visa. She came here under a two-year visa in 2018 along with her husband who started his four-year dentistry course.

Due to the pandemic her visa was extended September 2021 as part of a general extension. She applied to have it renewed last December and was refused in January.

The Minister said "the interest of public policy and the common good in maintaining the integrity of the immigration system" outweigh such features of her application that might tend to support a decision to vary permission under section 4(7) of the 2004 Immigration Act.

She brought High Court judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the decision. The Minister opposed the action.

Last July, Mr Justice Max Barrett quashed the decision and ordered that her application should receive fresh consideration.

Public interest

The Minister sought to appeal and was required to apply to Mr Justice Barrett to certify for such an appeal because it was argued by the Minister the judge's decision involved a point of law of exceptional public importance and that an appeal was desirable in the public interest.

The point of law related to the Minister's obligation, in accordance with a Supreme Court decision, to consider European Convention rights of short-term visa entrants when also considering whether to make a deportation order against them.

Mr Justice Barrett, in refusing to certify for an appeal, said his judgment identified various criticisms that could be levelled at the Minister’s "bland and uninformative decision" concerning Ms Middelkamp’s application for a variation of her visa.

The difficulties posed by the Minister's argument included that Ms Middelkamp is not, and could not be described as a short-term entrant, and could not rationally be described as such, the judge said.

Another difficulty was in relation to the deportation order issue. The judge said there was no evidence to suggest that Ms Middelkamp, if she is refused the variation she seeks to her visa, will "overstay" in Ireland beyond the time allowed by her visa or that a deportation process would be required to be commenced against her.

The judge said he must refuse the Minister's leave to appeal application because the court could not properly certify that its decision involved a point of law of exceptional public importance.

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