Dutch integration exam "breaches EU law"

11th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government is not allowed to force people who qualify for family reunion to take the required integration exam in their country of origin, argues a lawyer representing a Turkish family in a case to be heard at a court in Rotterdam.

Doing so contravenes the European Guideline regarding family reunions, adopted in 2005, and the Turkish Association Treaty dating back to the 1960s, according to the lawyer, Ejder Köse. The trial is to begin on 20 September.

The Turkish couple Mr Köse is representing have been living apart since the mid-1990s, when the husband moved to the Netherlands. His wife now wants to move in with her husband in Holland but the Dutch authorities are requiring her first to take an integration exam at the Dutch embassy in Turkey. In a prior case Mr Köse succeeded in contesting the required integration of Turkish nationals who wish to live in the Netherlands.

That requirement was adopted in 2006 as part of the Foreign Integration Law. That law, Mr Köse maintains, violates the European Guideline regarding family reunions and the Turkish Association Treaty, both of which stipulate that family reunions should not be made harder by any additional requirements.

“Integration, however, does make it harder”, Mr Köse says. “The law, introduced in 2006 by Aliens and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk, certainly does not make it any easier. Figures published by the Dutch statistics office CBS show that the number of family reunions has dropped dramatically ever since the law was introduced."

If the court rules in favour of his argument, Mr Köse notes, it would mean that the entire Foreign Integration Law violates European legislation. The verdict would, in that case, not apply just to Turkish nationals but to all foreigners who qualify to be reunited with their families, according to Mr Köse.

In a case brought by Mr Köse earlier this year, the Central Appeals Tribunal ruled in August that the requirement for Turkish nationals to be integrated breaches a number of stipulations of the Association Treaty between Turkey and the European Union.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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