The Danish government will introduce legislation to parliament on Tuesday that will require immigration authorities to evaluate the ‘ability to integrate’ of all children above the age of six who have a parent in their home country.
Under current rules, children are not evaluated on their integration potential if an application for family reunification is filed within two years of a parent being granted residence in Denmark.
The change, which will be fast-tracked through parliament so that can be approved and take effect from Friday, is a direct result of a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last month. The CJEU said in April that Danish immigration law illegally limits the rights of Turkish workers to bring their families to Denmark.
The ruling was on a 2006 case in which Caner Genc, a young Turkish man who was 13 at the time, was denied family reunification on the grounds that he was not suitable for successful integration. His older brothers were both successfully granted family reunification in 2003 to join their father Yasar Dogu Genc, who has lived and worked in Denmark since 1997.
The EU court in Luxembourg ruled that the young man’s rejection was a violation of the Ankara Agreement.
Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said on Tuesday that the new legislation would “partially close a loophole in relation to family reunification and partially tighten” existing legislation.
She plans to fast-track the legislation despite the criticism she received in November for pushing a set of stricter asylum laws through parliament as an “urgent” proposal, meaning that the time frame between the publishing of the proposed law changes to their approval by MPs was shortened from four weeks to just three days.
Støjberg acknowledged that the new changes could also face a legal challenge in the EU court system.
“There is always a risk when you tighten the rules but I also view it as urgent to tighten the rules on family reunification so that we can decide for ourselves who comes to Denmark […] under family reunification,” she told broadcaster DR.
Denmark also recently had its family reunification rules criticized by the European Court of Human Rights, which said that current legislation discriminates against people who are born outside of Denmark and obtain Danish citizenship later in life.