The Moroccan M. Chakroun had lived in the Netherlands for two years when he married in 1972. His new wife remained in Morocco, while he worked as a manufacturing employee until he lost his job in 2005. A year later, Mrs. Chakroun applied for a Dutch residency permit so she could be with her husband. The request was denied: her husband's unemployment benefits were below the required minimum income of 120 percent of minimum wage.
The Chakrouns appealed their case, finally ending up in the Court of Justice of the European Union, which ruled in the couple's favour last week. The minimum income requirement for foreign marriage partners, which is higher in the Netherlands than anywhere else in the EU, is at odds with the European right to family reunifications, as laid down in European Council Directive 2003/86/EC.