The Court of Justice of the European Union (C-432/20) has once again dealt with Austrian immigration law and, with regard to the residence title "Long-Term Resident EU". According to article 9(1)(c) of Directive 2003/109/EC, a long-term resident loses the right to long-term resident status in the event of absence from the territory of the European Union for a period of 12 consecutive months.
The CJEU has found that any physical presence of a long-term resident in the territory of the Union within a period of twelve consecutive months is sufficient to prevent long-term resident holders from losing his/her "Long-Term Resident EU" status, even if such presence does not exceed a total duration of only a few days during that period.
The CJEU uses an interpretation of wording and further expresses that this interpretation is supported by the objective of the Directive that those third-country nationals who, “by virtue of the duration of their residence in the territory of the Member State concerned, have already demonstrated that they are settled in that Member State are, in principle, free, as are EU citizens, to travel and reside, also for longer periods, outside the territory of the European Union, […] provided that they are not absent from that territory for the entire period of 12 consecutive months referred to in that provision”.
Thus, the Austrian practice, according to which habitual residence or even the maintenance of the centre of vital interests in Austria was required, is invalid.
Short-term stays in Austria, also for visiting purposes, are thus sufficient to maintain the residence title "Long-Term Resident EU".
Good news for holders of the residence permit "Long-Term Resident EU" / "Daueraufenthalt EU".