CJEU: Civic integration examinations are compatible with the EU Long-term residence Directive

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The CJEU held in a judgment dated 4 June 2015 that the long-term residence Directive does not preclude the imposition of an obligation to pass a civic integration examination, as long as this does not obstruct the objectives pursued by the Directive.

Dutch law provided that third country nationals applying for residency needed to pass an exam testing their knowledge of Dutch language and society by a certain date, failing which they would have to pay a fine. As the registration fee and costs incurred to prepare for and sit the examination were relatively high, it was liable to jeopardise the Directive’s objective of integration of non-EU citizens, depriving it of effectiveness.

Professor Steve Peers comments that “the Court has struck a good balance between ensuring that immigrants fit into society and the need to prevent integration tests forming a disguised means of excluding migrants from ever really fitting in despite their genuine efforts”.

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Integration measures