A Cameroonian national who had been in possession of successive student and residence and work permits in Belgium since 2007 applied for long-term residence in 2017. He produced his brother’s pay slips, tax assessment and employment contract as evidence he had ‘sufficient means of subsistence’, as required by Article 15a the Belgian Law on Foreign Nationals (implementing Article 5(1)(a) of Directive 2003/109, the ‘Directive’).
His application was rejected on the basis that he:
‘is currently relying on his brother’s resources. The person concerned must establish that he has sufficient means of subsistence for himself so as not to become a burden on the Belgian State.’
He appealed this decision to the Council for Asylum and Immigration proceedings which referred to the European Court of Justice to resolve the question of whether only the applicant’s own personal resources should be taken into account in assessing whether they have stable and sufficient resources for the purposes of a long-term residence application.
The court’s decision
The European Court of Justice concluded that the concept of ‘resources’ in the Directive was not limited to the applicant’s own resources, but could cover resources made available to the applicant by a third party, provided that, in the light of the applicant’s individual circumstances, they could be considered ‘stable, regular and sufficient.’
In making that assessment, the national authorities could take into account the family relationship between the applicant for long-term residence and the member or members of the family prepared to bear his costs, as well as the nature and permanence of the resources of the member or members of the applicant’s family.