Europe's Top Court Rules Against German Immigration Test

By Hans Esser, for 15 July, 2014

The European Court of Justice has ruled in favor of a German resident of Turkish descent who challenged the German Government's decision to disallow his spouse from joining him in Germany because she had failed Germany's language proficiency immigration test. The ruling could have repercussions for the controls in place in other European Union member states, and Germany's system in particular.

Germany argued that the requirement is needed to prevent forced marriages and to promote integration. However, the ECJ said that the test goes beyond what is needed to meet these objectives, and said that individual circumstances must be taken into account. In the specific circumstances of the persons appealing Germany's decision, the ECJ said that the spouse's lack of German proficiency was not sufficient grounds from preventing the reunification of the married couple. The husband had lived in Germany for over a decade.

The ECJ also said that the language requirement was incompatible with a residency agreement made between the European Economic Community and Turkey in the 1970s.

In response to the decision, Germany's Government said that the ECJ decision does not have any application beyond Turkish spouses. However, Monika Lüke, who is Senate Commissioner for Integration and Migration, told Berlin radio station RBB that she expects to see further cases relating to other third countries. She called on the Government to revise its regulations on family reunification.

Tags: Court | Germany | European Union (EU) | Expats | Visas And Passports | Welfare | Europe |


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