Amendment to the Foreigners Act: Sufficient means of subsistence
With the amendment to the Foreigners Act, the Republic of Slovenia transposed into national law the Directive (EU) 2016/801 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing.
According to the Directive, a foreigner must provide the evidence that during the planned stay they will have sufficient resources to cover subsistence costs without having recourse to the member state's social assistance system, and return travel costs. In addition, the Directive determines the resources by which a foreigner demonstrates sufficient means of subsistence, which are as follows:
- a grant,
- a fellowship or a scholarship,
- a valid work contract,
- a binding job offer, or
- a financial undertaking by a pupil exchange scheme organisation.
With the adoption and entry into force of the Act Amending the Foreigners Act, the amended provisions of Articles 33 and 44 of the Foreigners Act entered into force. These determine, among other things, the resources by which a foreigner can demonstrate compliance with the requirement of sufficient means of subsistence (assets earned through work, by labour or insurance rights, except for the reimbursement of work-related expenses, by income from property or capital and other sources, or with the help of those obliged to maintain them, by a scholarship, or by funds in an account open with a bank or a savings bank in the Republic of Slovenia or abroad, while for foreigners coming to the Republic of Slovenia for study purposes, the funds received by the educational organisation and intended for the foreigner – so-called grants – are taken into account in addition to the funds mentioned above).
The requirement of sufficient means of subsistence in order to obtain a residence permit for study purposes was already in place before the amendment to the Foreigners Act came into force. The amendment has changed the way of demonstrating compliance with the requirement of sufficient means of subsistence for those foreigners (students) whose parents or legal representatives have a legal obligation to support them. Namely, the amendment abolished the possibility for a foreigner to prove sufficient means of subsistence by a written statement from their parents who are obliged to support them under the law of their country of citizenship. This means that, given the abolition of the possibility to prove sufficient means of subsistence by a written statement from their parents, every foreigner (student) whose parents have a legal obligation to support them, which is assessed under the law of their country of citizenship, will also be able to demonstrate sufficient means of subsistence by assets received by their parents or legal representatives. It should be emphasized that, in cases where the parents have a legal obligation to support the student, the latter will have to prove that their parents have sufficient means of subsistence for their subsistence only, i.e. for the maintenance of the student who will study in the Republic of Slovenia. This means that the competent authority will not check whether the assets received by the parent are sufficient to support all family members and in the procedure it will only be established if the assets earned by the parent through work, by labour or insurance rights, by income from property or capital and other sources, or by funds in an account open with a bank or a savings bank are sufficient for the student's livelihood, which corresponds to the basic minimum income amount in the Republic of Slovenia.
Since foreign students have had to demonstrate compliance with the requirement of sufficient means of subsistence in order to be issued a temporary residence permit under the legislation in force so far, the amendment to the act does not therefore tighten the conditions for obtaining a permit, but only changes the way they are demonstrated.
As regards students whose parents have no legal obligation to support them, which is assessed under the law of their country of citizenship, the method of demonstrating sufficient means for subsistence has not changed, as such a foreigner was not able to demonstrate sufficient means of subsistence by a written statement from their parents before the amendment.