ARB rights of family members of Turkish workers do not expire by naturalization

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in its judgment of 21 October 2020 in case C-720/19 that a family member of a Turkish worker who has acquired the rights provided for in Art. 7 (1) ARB 1/80 does not lose these rights if he acquires the nationality of the host Member State and loses his former nationality.

In 1970, a Turkish citizen was granted the right to join her Turkish husband, who was an employee and lived in Germany, as a family member. She lived legally with her husband in Germany until he died in 1998.

On February 2, 2001, the Turkish citizen acquired German citizenship through naturalization. As part of the naturalization procedure, she presented the competent authorities with a certificate of release from Turkish citizenship. After she had regained her Turkish citizenship on July 20, 2001, she lost her German citizenship, which was determined by a decision of the City of Duisburg on November 8, 2010.

On February 3, 2017, she applied for an unlimited residence permit in Germany according to § 4 ( 5 ) AufenthG. In support of this application, GR claimed that she had acquired rights under Article 7 (1) of Decision No. 1/80 due to living together with her husband in Germany.

By decision of 29 August 2017, the City of Duisburg rejected this application because it was of the opinion that the Turkish national could no longer derive any rights from Article 7(1) of Decision No. 1/80 because she had acquired German citizenship on 2 February 2001. The Administrative Court of Düsseldorf asked the Court of Justice whether the acquisition of German nationality entailed the loss of rights which she had acquired under Article 7(1) of Decision No 1/80.

The Court of Justice of the European Union held that the rights conferred by Article 7(1) of Decision No 1/80 on the members of the family of a Turkish worker in respect of employment in the Member State concerned were independent of the persistence of the conditions under which they arose.

Furthermore, the right was subject to only two grounds for extinction: Either the presence of the family member concerned on the territory of the host Member State constitutes, by reason of his personal conduct, a real and serious threat to public policy, public security or public health within the meaning of Article 14(1) of that decision, or the person concerned has left the territory of that State for a significant period of time without legitimate reason.

This leads to the result:

26 The acquisition of the nationality of the host Member State by a family member, even if it confers rights which are more extensive than those conferred by Decision No 1/80, does not constitute a circumstance which may lead to the loss of rights previously acquired by the family member under Article 7(1) of that decision.