• In Case C-53/81 Levin [1982] ECR 1035, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided that the applicant was a worker for the purposes of Article 45 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, because she performed services which can be categorised as ‘genuine and effective economic activities’. Her motivations for pursuing such activity were immaterial.

Facts of the case:

  • The applicant was a British citizen. The applicant married a non-EU national, and the two resided in the Netherlands together.
  • The applicant’s application for residence in the Netherlands was refused, and she argued that she had a sufficient income to sustain both her and her husband, and sought to derive residency from her worker status.

Issues in Case C-53/81 Levin [1982] ECR 1035:

  • The issue in the case was whether a national of a Member state who in the territory of another Member State pursues an activity, whether paid or not, as an employed person or provides services to such a limited extent than in so doing they earn an income which is less than that which in the last mentioned Member state is considered as the minimum necessary to enable them to support themselves can be regarded as a worker.

The CJEU held:

  • Applicant was a worker under Community law. Someone who is a national of another Member State, who pursues an economic activity in another Member State, which yields a a below minimum-wage income in that state, is still a worker under EU law. This is whether or not that person supplements their income with another source of income, provided that person pursues an activity which is effective and genuine.
  • The motives which may have prompted a worker of a Member State to seek employment in another Member State have no bearing on ones right to enter and reside in the other Member State.

The CJEU specifically stated:

  • [14] “the preambles to Regulation No 1612/68 contain the general affirmation of the right of all workers in the Member States to pursue the activity of their choice within the Community, irrespective of whether they are permanent, seasonal or frontier workers or workers who pursue their activities for the purpose of providing services” [1049]
  • [16] “it follows that the concepts of “worker” and “activity as an employed person” must be interpreted as meaning that the rules relating to freedom of movement of workers also concern persons who pursue or wish to pursue an activity as an employed person on a part-time basis only and who, by virtue of that fact obtain or would obtain remuneration lower than the minimum guaranteed remuneration in the sector under consideration. In this regard no distinction may be made between those who wish to make do with their income from such an activity and those who supplement that income with other income”.