To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
On May 24, 2016, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in Biao v. Denmark, ruling that Danish immigration laws on family reunion were discriminatory. The complaint centered on the refusal of Danish immigration authorities to grant a married couple a residence permit for family reunion on the grounds that they did not comply with a provision of the Danish “Aliens Act” requiring that they not have stronger ties with another country (the so-called “attachment requirement”). The applicants claimed that this refusal constituted a violation of their right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Additionally, the applicants claimed that an amendment to the Aliens Act lifting the attachment requirement for those who had held Danish citizenship for at least twenty-eight years (the “28-year rule”) resulted in discrimination between natural-born Danish citizens and those of foreign origin who had acquired citizenship, in contravention of Article 14 of the Convention (prohibition of discrimination), when read in conjunction with Article 8. According to the press release, the Grand Chamber reasoned that Denmark’s justification for the 28-year rule (controlling immigration and improving integration) was largely based on “rather speculative arguments.” In the Court’s view, whether integration would be successful could not be determined solely by the amount of time an individual had been a citizen. The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 14 of the Convention, when read in conjunction with Article 8, and that it was therefore unnecessary to examine the application separately under Article 8. In particular, the Court found that Denmark “had failed to show that there were compelling or very weighty reasons unrelated to ethnic origin to justify the indirect discriminatory effect of the 28-year rule.”