Denmark to maintain 28-year immigration rule

danish-flagDespite a recent threat by Supreme Court judges to undermine the immigration legislation governing citizenship, Denmark will continue with its 28-year rule for naturalising citizens.

Politiken reports that the rule, in place since 2002, stipulates that ‘naturalised citizens’ must reside in Denmark for a minimum of 28 years before being allowed to move their spouse to Denmark under national family reunification laws. The only possibility of circumventing this law is if the combined attachment of the couple to Denmark can be considered greater than that to any other country.

The ruling was called into question following the case of Ousmane Biao who had his application rejected by the Supreme Court when requesting his Ghanaian wife be allowed to join him in Denmark. However, three of the seven judges in the case deemed the ruling to be gratuitously discriminatory, leading to speculation that the immigration laws, long held sacred in Denmark, may be overhauled.

Togo-born Ousmane was raised in Ghana before migrating to Denmark in 1993. Working since 1996, he was granted citizenship in 2002. His request was rejected due to his Ghanaian schooling and frequent visits home to see his siblings and parents along with his wife having no family inside Denmark and that they speak their local language when together.

Birthe Ronn Hornbech, the Immigration Minister, said that the ruling should be seen as an endorsement of the law rather than a questioning. “It would be weird if we, after an endorsement from the Supreme Court, wanted to change the law,” said Hornbech who also added that disagreement among judges was not unusual.

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