Danish demand over Turkish worker’s language test ‘unlawful’, says ECJ

A Danish restriction requiring a language test for a Turkish worker in order to for his wife to get a residence permit is unlawful, the EU’s top court ruled on Thursday.

The wife of a Turkish worker residing in Denmark submitted a request for a residence permit in 2015 and was rejected by Danish authorities. Her husband is a permanent resident of Denmark and has been employed there since 1980.

But the wife’s application was denied in 2016 because her husband had not successfully taken a Danish language test. The worker had however completed a course in Danish on subjects such as engineering computation.

The EU court has found that the requirement for a language test was unlawful due to a 1980 association agreement between the European Economic Community and Turkey.

That association agreement states that EU countries and Turkey cannot introduce new restrictions on employment access for workers and members of their families who are legally residing and working in the respective territories.

The EU’s top court said that the Danish language test constituted a “new restriction” that can only be justified by “an overriding reason in the public interest”.

The court said the Danish legislation did not take into account the wife’s ability to integrate nor did it allow authorities to take into account other factors proving the Turkish worker’s integration.

This meant that the legislation “goes beyond what is necessary in order to attain the objective pursued,” the court said.

The European Court of Justice has previously ruled against Denmark over restrictions on family reunification.

In 2019, the court ruled that an “attachment requirement” for family reunification violated the EU association agreement with Turkey.

That restriction required a family to have a stronger attachment to Denmark than any other country for family reunification.

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