Hilkka Becker, Senior Solicitor at the Immigrant Council of Ireland examines the issues pertaining to family reunification in the latest edition of the Parchment Parchment...
EZINE Issue 2 – Summer 2012
2. Developments at EU Level
3. Developments at Individual EU Member State Level
4. Update on the Review of the EU Family Reunion Directive
5. Report of the Third Meeting of the Family Reunification Project
6. Focus on Family Reunification Project Partner Organisation: The AIRE Centre, UK
7. Migrant Rights Network Briefing Paper on Family Migration Policy in the UK
8. Workshop on Family Migration Policy and Integration at the International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion IMISCOE Conference
9. International Studies on Family Integration
10. Contribute to the Family Reunification Project ezine!
11. Help Spread the Word about the Family Reunification Project!
12. Useful Resources
13. Contact the Family Reunification Project
Welcome to the second ezine for the Family Reunification Project.
The aim of the Family Reunification Project is to explore the policies and legislation regarding family reunification in various EU member states – with particular questions around whether family reunification is a tool for the integration of immigrants and their families, or a barrier.
This project is funded under the Integration Fund Community Actions Programme, an EU funding programme aimed at promoting the integration in EU member states of people who are not citizens of the EU.
There are organisations from seven EU member states taking part in the Family Reunification Project, namely: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) is the lead project partner. To find out more about the seven partner organisations, please click here.
The Family Reunification Project commenced in October 2011, when the ICI co-hosted the first meeting of project partners with the AIRE (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) Centre in London. It will run for 18 months.
The second meeting of the Family Reunification Project took place in The Netherlands on 19th and 20th January 2012, and the third meeting took place in Vienna in recent weeks.
The third meeting of the Family Reunification Project took place on 10th and 11th May in the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Vienna, Austria. The details of this meeting are expanded upon in Section 3 of this ezine.
Details of all three meetings can be found here.
Over the course of the project, additional updates from meetings involving the seven partner organisations will be published in this ezine, along with occasional feature articles from representatives from each of the partner groups. Each issue of the ezine will also include a focus on one – or more – of the partner organisations and a summary of their work on family reunification. In this issue, we look at the work of the AIRE Centre in the UK.
Developments at EU Level
A European Commission Hearing on the consultation regarding the review of the Family Reunification Directive is scheduled for 31st May to 1st June.
The European Integration Forum is a platform for dialogue on migrant integration managed by the European Commission in co-operation with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
Approximately 100 civil society organisations from all EU Member States participate at the meetings, which are held twice a year. This meeting, the seventh such meeting, will have the form of a public hearing on the right to family reunification of Third Country Nationals living in EU. The objective is to discuss the outcome of the public consultation on family reunification held from November 2011 until March 2012
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will speak at the hearing, which will consist of panels on integration measures, procedural obstacles, asylum and fraud/abuse.
- The European Migration Network Study on ‘Misuse’ will be presented at the hearing. You can read the Belgian report here.
- A Member State Working Group on family reunification was agreed at a meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Committee on the 25th and 26th of April. The Member States involved in this working group are Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Developments at Individual EU Member State Level
- 20 NGOs have joined together to call on the European Commission and the EU Member States to “clarify the definition of the family members and of the dependent relatives entitled to family reunification, based on proportionality and non-discrimination…” Read the full statement here.
- France: Newly elected President Francois Hollande has promised improvements to family reunification in France in a much-publicised letter to French NGO, France Terre d’Asile.
- United Kingdom: A leaked letter from Home Secretary Theresa May to coalition partner leader Nick Clegg reveals that the Government wishes to pursue the highest recommended income requirement for people sponsoring family members to come to the UK(£25,700 per year). If this requirement were in place in 2010, 45 per cent of those who applied would not have been able to apply. The Migrant Rights Network campaign (mentioned below) is responding to this.
- Netherlands: The Dutch Government will no longer push for restrictions on family reunion and immigration at national or EU level now that, Geert Wilders, since he withdrew the support of his Freedom Party from the minority government, which will lead to early elections. However new restrictions may come into effect on 1st July 2012, depending on actions in the Dutch parliament and Council of State. A waiting period of one year may be introduced for most temporary resident sponsors. Unmarried partners may potentially be excluded. Those unable to marry in their country of origin (e.g. gay couples) could get a temporary visa to move and get married in the Netherlands. An autonomous residence permit would only be available after five (and not three) years.
Update on the Review of the EU Family Reunion Directive
In November 2011, the European Commission published a Green Paper on the EU Family Reunion Directive 2003/86/EC. This Directive recognises that facilitating family reunion facilitates immigrant integration and societal cohesion. A consultation on the Green Paper was held in recent months, and a number of the partners participating in the Family Reunification Project made submissions to the consultation.
These can be viewed here:
Report of the Third Meeting of the Family Reunification Project
The third meeting of the Family Reunification Project took place on 10th and 11th May in the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Vienna, Austria
Some features of the meeting included
- Mária Temesvári , Die Internationale Organisation für Migration IOM, Vienna, gave a presentation on the EMN study on marriages of conveniences – background and country results Austria
- Ursula Naue, University of Vienna spoke about the results from the DNA and Immigrations ( IMMIGENE )project
- Ronald Eppel, Austrian Ministry of the Interior gave a presentation on Austria’s position on the EC Green Paper on Family Reunification
- Dunja Bogdanovic, Beratungszentrum für Migranten und MigrantInnen, spoke about the Green Paper from an Austrian perspective.
The meeting also discussed the Family Reunification Project’s comparative report in the context of the key national findings regarding legislation, case law and implementation.
A discussion also took place on empirical research; the first findings; and the difficulties encountered by participating organisations.
The agenda and other materials from this meeting are available at:
Focus on Family Reunification Project Partner Organisation: The AIRE (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) Centre UK
The AIRE Centre is a London based specialist law centre whose mission is to promote awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights.
They do this by:
- Taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights.
- Providing legal advice to other lawyers and advisers in the voluntary sector.
- Providing legal advice to individuals directly.
- Carrying out training and drafting reports and other publications
AIRE’s special areas of focus include:
- Domestic violence.
- Human trafficking.
- EU migration and discrimination.
- Invisible migrants.
- Migrants in London.
- Western Balkans Rule of Law Programme
For more information on the team at Aire please see here
Nuala Mole, Founder and Director of the AIRE Centre has written an overview of case law of EU and ECHR law on family formation, reunification, family regularisation and family retention. Click here to read.
Migrants Rights Network (MRN) Briefing Paper on Family Migration Policy: ‘Keeping Families Apart’
On 19th April 2012, the Migrant Rights Network published a briefing paper as part of its campaign on family migration. It shows that a higher income threshold for family migration could prevent 50 per cent of the UK working population from bringing a spouse or partner to the UK – with ethnic minorities, women and children particularly affected.
Read the briefing paper here.
Workshop on Family Migration Policy and Integration at the International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion IMISCOE Conference
The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) is organising a workshop on family migration policy and integration in conjunction with the University of Leiden, at this year’s annual IMISCOE conference in Amsterdam (28th to 29th August 2012).
International Studies on Family Reunification
- “Integration from Abroad? Perception and Impacts of Pre-entry tests for Third Country Nationals” by P.W.A Scholten, Han Entzinger (Erasmus university Rotterdam), Eleonore Kofman (Middlesex University), Christina Hollomey (ICMPD) & Claudia Lechner (Principal Authors) with Elena Vacchelli (Middlesex University) & Albert Kraler (EFMS). Read it here
- “Connection between Admission Policies and Integration Policies at EU Level and Given Linkages to National Policy Making” by Alex Balch and Andrew Geddes. Read it here
- “Study on the impacts of Admission Policies and Admission- related Integration Policies” by Claudia Lechner, Anna Lutz (EFMS) (principle authors) with Albert Kraler, Alfred Wöger (ICMPD), Yana Leontiyeva (MKC); Berta Güell, Roisin Davis, Olga Jubany (University of Barcelona); Elena Vaccelli, Eleonore Kofman (Middlesex University), P.W.A. Scholten, Han Entzinger (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Brigitte Suter (MIM). Read it here
- Results of the PROSINT study on the linkage of integration and admission policies published by Albert Kraler. Read it here
- A new book has been published entitled “Gender, Generations and the Family in International Migration”. Read it here
Edited by Albert Kraler, Eleonore Kofman, Martin Kohli and Camille Schmoll
Contribute to the Family Reunification Project ezine!
Over the course of the Family Reunification Project, four issues of this ezine will be produced and disseminated to project partners and other stakeholders with an interest in family reunification. If you would like to contribute an article to a forthcoming issue of the ezine, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with an outline of your proposed article and your contact details. We welcome contributions, in particular, from the project partners.
Help Spread the Word about the Family Reunification Project!
The Family Reunification Project is now truly up and running, with the first three meetings having taken place. The website, www.familyreunification.eu, serves as a repository for information about the project and about the different organisations that are involved.
Please help us spread the word about the Family Reunification Project. You can do this in the following ways:
- Encourage your colleagues and other relevant stakeholder organisations to subscribe to this ezine.
- Share a link to www.familyreunification.eu on your organisation’s website.
- Promote your involvement in this project on your organisation’s social media profiles.
There are a range of useful resources available on the Family Reunification Project’s website: http://familyreunification.eu/index.php/resources/.
Contact the Family Reunification Project
We welcome your feedback on this ezine and on the Family Reunification Project overall. To give us feedback, or to find out more about the project, visit: www.familyreunification.eu.
If you wish to contact us by post, telephone or email, the details are as follows
Family Reunification Project
c/o Immigrant Council of Ireland,
2 Andrew Street,