Win for Turkish Woman Seeking German Visa

     (CN) – Germany contravened EU law in denying visas to immigrants who cannot pass a German language proficiency test, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday.
     With the stated aim of stopping forced marriages and promoting integration, the German government has required spouses of immigrants since 2007 to take a language test before they may join their partners in Germany.
     Naime Dogan, a Turkish national, challenged the practice when she was denied a visa to join her husband in Germany where he has lived since 1998.
     A large number of Turkish immigrants came to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s after Germany suffered a labor shortage. They make up about 4 percent to 5 percent of Germany’s population.
     The court found that the language requirement violates a 1973 agreement between the European Union and Turkey that prohibits the introduction of new restrictions on the freedom of establishment.
     “A restriction, whose purpose or effect is to make the exercise by a Turkish national of the freedom of establishment in national territory subject to conditions more restrictive than those applicable at the date of entry into force … is prohibited, unless it is justified by an overriding reason in the public interest,” the court ruled Thursday.
     The court also said that a Turkish national who decides to establish himself in a member state for work “could be negatively affected where the legislation of that member state makes family reunification difficult or impossible, so that the national could, as the case may be, find himself obliged to choose between his [economic] activity in the member state concerned and his family life in Turkey.”

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