ECJ rules that non-EU citizen who is long-term resident cannot be expelled from MS for sole reason prison sentence

A non-EU citizen with a long-term resident permit cannot be expelled from the EU for the sole reason that he or she has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than one year. That is the answer of the Court of Justice of the EU on preliminary questions of a Spanish court about the Long-term Resident Directive 2003/109/EC, given in its judgement on 7 December 2017.

A Colombian national, who was granted a long-term residence permit in Spain, was subject to Spanish expulsion procedures solely because he was sentenced to two terms of imprisonment of more than one year in total. Subsequently, the Spanish government adopted a re-entry ban into Spain for a period of five years.

The Court of Justice declared that the Long-term Resident Directive does not allow an expulsion measure that automatically follows a criminal conviction. According to the Court’s judgement EU countries need to take into account the duration of residence in their territory, the age of the person concerned, the consequences for the person concerned and family members and links with the country of residence or absence of links with the country of origin. In sum, a long term resident status cannot be withdrawn solely on the basis of a criminal conviction, but rather needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.


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