Legal hiccup

Quite a fuss this week in the Netherlands about immigration laws. A judge ruled that it is not legal to ask non EU citizens to do a language and culture test before coming to the Netherlands to get married or to reunite with their family. The test has been common practice for some years now, but, said the judge, it was not clearly defined in the law. You would think such a court ruling would bring happiness to people who have to do the exam, but that seems not to be the case. At least, I didn’t find too much happiness when I talked to and emailed Turks and their Dutch lovers planning to (re)unite in the Netherlands. Some of them, especially those who think they can not pass the exam for whatever reason (no language school nearby, long working hours with no time to study, not being able to learn the basics of Dutch on their own from a book, things like that), get some hope from the judge’s ruling, but most people don’t get distracted and just say: “I’ll just go on studying and do the test anyway.” Which is not so strange, because the legal situation is unclear. The state can appeal against the ruling, and failing that, then parliament will amend the law – at least, the first reactions from politicians suggest that’s what will happen. The people affected know better than to get their hopes up just because of a political or legal hiccup. Getting your bride or groom into the EU will remain a question of wait and see. And probably of some hard studying.

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