The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State on May 10 sent prejudicial questions to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to inquire about the European Family Reunification Directive.

The Administrative Jurisdiction Division wants to know whether this directive gives the state secretary for security and justice the right to deny a permit for continued residency if an immigrant does not pass the integration exam.

The Administrative Jurisdiction Division posed two questions, covering two cases that were brought by a Congolese and a Chinese immigrant. The two immigrants were in the possession of a temporary residency permit for stay as a family member. After their stay of over five years in the Netherlands based on this temporary residency permit, they applied for a permit for continued residency.

The state secretary did not grant these permits because the immigrants did not pass the integration exam. He took this decision based on the Dutch Aliens Decree 2000.

Questions for preliminary ruling

The Administrative Jurisdiction Division has asked the EU Court of Justice whether the regulations in the Aliens Decree 2000, which provides for a denial of a residency permit if an integration exam is not passed, is in accordance with the European Family Reunification Directive. This directive states that an immigrant who is admitted for family reunification has the right to an "autonomous residency permit" after five years, like an extended residency permit.

The directive further states that regulations for providing an autonomous residency permit are regulated in national law, but does not describe what these regulations might entail. The Administrative Jurisdiction Division wants to know from the Court of Justice whether these could entail integration prerequisites, such as passing an integration exam.