The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has determined that Italy must pay for the dependents of migrants even if they do not live in the European Union.
EU judges stated that Italian legislation which allows Italians to claim benefits for dependents living abroad but which bars non-EU migrants from doing so was contrary to EU law. The court, therefore, ruled that non-EU citizens with residency permits or who are long-term residents are entitled to allowances for their families living outside of the bloc.
The decision was a result of a challenge between the National Social Security Institute and two non-European Union citizens, one from Sri Lanka and another from Pakistan, who lived and worked legally in Italy and have families living in their home countries, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.
Populist Senator Matteo Salvini, who heads Italy’s most popular party, the League (Lega), commented on the court’s statement, saying: “The Court of Justice of the EU establishes (and imposes on Italy) that non-EU citizens are entitled to allowances even for dependent family members living abroad outside the EU! Are they joking?”