Judgment delivered on 6 November 2017
The Immigration Appeals Board
It was not in contravention of the European Human Rights Convention that a Syrian man with temporary protection status in Denmark had to wait three years for family reunification with his spouse
In this case, the Supreme Court was asked to review the Immigration Appeals Board’s decision refusing to grant spouses A and B family reunification in Denmark. A was resident in Denmark under the rules of the Danish Aliens Act on temporary protection because of the general situation in his home country, while B was still in Syria.
The grounds for the Immigration Appeals Board’s decision were that A had not had a residence permit for more than the past three years, which is a requirement in the Aliens Act, and that no exceptional reasons, including regard for family unity, made it appropriate to grant a residence permit according to the derogating provision in Section 9c(1) of the Act. A had submitted, among other things, that the decision was contrary to the right to respect for family life in ECHR Article 8.
The Supreme Court held – particularly referring to the travaux préparatoires for the Aliens Act – that the restriction of the right to family reunification was based on interests that could be protected in accordance with ECHR Article 8. Although the refusal of family reunification in effect meant that A was kept from living with his wife, this was only temporary. A could return to Syria when the general situation in the country improved, and if this did not happen, he would, as a general rule, be entitled to family reunification with his wife after three years.
On this basis, the Supreme Court held that the requirement that A must have had a residence permit in Denmark for three years before being entitled to family reunification with his wife was within the State’s margin of judgment when weighing the consideration for his family life against the interests of the general good in accordance with ECHR Article 8. The Immigration Appeals Board’s decision was thus not contrary to Article 8.
Moreover, the Supreme Court held that the decision was also not in breach of the prohibition of discrimination in ECHR Article 14.
The High Court had reached the same conclusion.