On the 22th of December 2022, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in its judgment X v Udlændingenævnet, C-297/21. In the present case, a Turkish worker has resided in Denmark with a permanent residence permit. X, the applicant and his spouse, entered Denmark and applied for a residence permit for the purpose of family reunification. The Immigration Office rejected her application because her spouse did not successfully take the required language test and there were no special reasons justifying a derogation of it. X then lodged an administrative appeal against the decision after which she received residence permit based on her activity as an employed person. However, X brought an action before the District Court for annulment and referral for reconsideration in order to not preclude her potential family reunification. This Court referred the case to the Danish High Court which submitted preliminary questions to the CJEU. The CJEU first highlighted Article 13 of Decision No 1/80 (on the development of the association between the European Economic Community and Turkey) which prohibits the introduction of new national measures affecting the freedom of movement of Turkish workers in a manner that their movement is more restricted than at the time when that decision entered into force. The Court already held that legislation tightening the conditions for family reunification with Turkish workers, as defined in this Decision, constitutes a ‘new restriction’. The CJEU ruled that the Danish legislation, introduced after the Decision, makes family reunification between a Turkish worker and his spouse subject to the condition that that worker has successfully taken a language test hence it tightens the reunification rules and so constitutes a prohibited new restriction. However, the CJEU stated that its jurisprudence allows such restriction when it is justified by a) an overriding reason in the public interest, b) is suitable to achieve the legitimate objective pursued and c) does not go beyond what is necessary to attain that objective. The Court mentioned that ensuring successful integration may constitute such an overriding reason. In the present case, a sufficient level of Danish (demonstrated by successfully taking the test) might enable the Turkish worker to contribute to his spouse’s integration. The CJEU nonetheless ruled that the language test goes beyond what is necessary because it does not consider the spouse’s abilities to integrate. Furthermore, the Danish legislation does not allow the authorities to derogate from the language test and examine other factors proving the effective integration of the Turkish worker which may contribute to his spouse’s integration. Consequently, the restriction is not justified and so breaches EU-law.
CJEU: Language test for Turkish man lawfully residing in Denmark to prove integration as a condition for his wife’s family reunification is not in line with EU law
20 Jan 2023 | News