Joined cases C-385/19 and C-322/19: CJEU confirms access to labour market in the context of proceedings related to the Dublin III Regulation

Thursday, January 14, 2021

On 14 January 2021, the CJEU ruled, in the context of Irish preliminary referrals on the interpretation of Article 15 of the Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33), in light of the Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32), which is not applicable to Ireland.

The preliminary questions were submitted in two cases (C-385/19 and C-322/19) that concerned the legality of Irish decisions to refuse the permission for applicants for international protection to access the labour market on the basis that they were subject to transfer proceedings under the Dublin III Regulation (Regulation 604/2013).

The referring Court and tribunal, first, asked whether Article 15 of the Reception Conditions Directive precludes national legislation that excludes an applicant for international protection from access to the labour market solely because a Dublin-transfer decision has been taken in his or her regard. In its assessment, the CJEU highlighted, inter alia, the EU legislator’s intention for the transfer not to constitute a final decision on an application for international protection and the interpretation of Article 15(1) in Cimade and GISTI. Furthermore, it underlined that while access to the labour market does not, strictly speaking, constitute a material reception condition under the Reception Conditions Directive, it must nonetheless be understood as a right and benefit for applicants whose application has not been finally determined. For these reasons, the CJEU concluded that Article 15 precludes national legislation that excludes an applicant from accessing the labour market, solely because a Dublin-transfer decision has been taken in his or her regard. 

Secondly, the CJEU was asked which acts may constitute a delay attributable to the applicant for international protection within the meaning of Article 15(1) of the Reception Conditions Directive. For its assessment, the CJEU took into consideration Article 13 and 31(3) of the Asylum Procedures Directive, which is not applicable to Ireland, but, according to the CJEU, must be taken into account to interpret the Reception Conditions Directive where the uniform interpretation and application of EU law warrants it. Under that Directive applicants have an obligation to cooperate with the competent authorities with a view to establishing their identity and other elements, such as their age, background and nationality. Therefore, the CJEU concluded that a delay in the adoption of a decision at first instance concerning an application for international protection, which results from a lack of cooperation by the applicant with the competent authorities, may be attributed to that applicant.

However, the CJEU further concluded that a Member State may not attribute to the applicant such delay because an applicant did not lodge his or her application with the first Member State of entry. Furthermore, and referring to Article 27(1) and (3), recital 19 Dublin III and Article 47 of the Charter, the CJEU underlined, inter alia, that the EU legislature did not intend for judicial protection enjoyed by applicants for international protection to be sacrificed for the requirement of expedition in the processing of their application and, consequently, concluded that a Member State may not attribute a delay to an applicant for the bringing, by that applicant, of legal proceedings with suspensory effect against the transfer decision taken in his or her regard under Dublin III.

Photo: Transparency International, March 2013, Flickr (CC)

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                               

Access to the labour market
Material reception conditions
Obligation/Duty to cooperate