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Case 53/81 Levin

[1982] ECR 1035

Case summary last updated at 12/02/2020 18:44 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Case 53/81 Levin

P was British and living and working in Netherlands. She was married to a non-EC national. Her application for a residence permit was rejected on the grounds that the Dutch court did not consider someone a ‘worker’ unless she earned a level of income that enabled her to subsist at a minimum level, defined as equal to the Dutch minimum wage, which she did not. ECJ held that the concept of worker could not be so restrictively interpreted, and that a person was still a worker even if they earned an income not deemed the minimum necessary for subsistence. 
 
ECJ: The free movement of workers is a freedom fundamental to the community and so its scope musty not be restricted by narrow interpretation of those to whom it applies. Free movement is critical not only to create a single market but also to enable people to raise their standard of living (even if that is still considered below subsistence in MEDCs). Furthermore the argument that P was only seeking employment in Holland to get a residence permit was not accepted: motive is irrelevant if a person is genuinely seeking to pursue economic activity. 

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