To be or not to be Danish: that is the question!

Hamlet Castle Ruslan Kapral FlickrBy Thomas Huddleston, MPG Programme Director on Migration and Integration

International Migrants’ Day is usually a day marked by speeches full of empty words and press releases calling for action. Today, the Danish Parliament celebrated December 18 by passing its long-awaited reform to allow dual nationality. Symbolically important, Denmark becomes the 18th EU Member State to fully accept dual nationality for naturalising immigrants and its citizens abroad.
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Belgium: a nice place to visit, but can you afford to live there?

champagne truffles by LinksmanJD flickrBy Thomas Huddleston, MPG Programme Director on Migration and Integration

A 225€ fee for non-EU citizens’ residence permits would set one of the highest fees in the EU. The median fee in the EU is around 130€. While the Minister referred to France and Netherlands–neighbours with some of the EU’s highest fees–he skipped over neighbours with average fees: Germany (100-135€) and Luxembourg (50€). A 225€ fee could contravene EU law by acting as a disproportionate obstacle for low-income immigrants who meet all the legal requirements for family reunification or long-term residence.
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Filed under Belgium, Family Reunion, Long Term Residence

A question for referendum: should foreigners vote in national elections?

Be Heard Flickr rachel_titirigaBy Thomas Huddleston, MPG Programme Director on Migration and Integration

In collaboration with Serge Kollwelter, ASTI Luxembourg and Kate McMillan, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Only four countries in the world currently grant equal voting rights to foreigners. Now an even greater debate has emerged to grant voting rights in national elections in Luxembourg, where the impact of such a decision would be the greatest of all MIPEX countries, since 44% of the population are not Luxembourgian citizens. We at MIPEX turn to its comparative policy network to understand why countries may choose to answer “Yes!” in the case of New Zealand and, perhaps soon, “Ja!” in the case of Luxembourg.

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Filed under Luxembourg, New Zealand, Political Participation

MIPEX in Use: A way forward for a National Integration Policy in Malta

Malta_blog4Written by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

On 13th June the human rights organisation Aditus released a report with “concrete recommendations aim­ed at national policymakers on how to maximise the success of the various stages of third country nationals’ integration process in Malta”. Using Malta’s scores on MIPEX as its starting point, consultations were organised and 60 recommendations developed on every MIPEX strand with different national stakeholders participating in the Malta Integration Network, as well as international experts, such as MPG’s director Jan NiessenContinue reading

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A Suggestion for Turkey: Treat your immigrants like your emigrants abroad

ozge1Written by Özge Bilgili, MIPEX Evaluation Assistant and Visiting Research Fellow, CIDOB

Turkey’s migrant integration policies have recently been evaluated, and the results are not so bright. To improve policies on migrant integration, policy makers need to look back to the country´s emigration history and its diaspora engagement policies. Most certainly, such a reflection can inspire more inclusive and cohesive policies to create a much more welcoming and righteous environment for Turkey´s immigrants.

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Voting rights for long-term residents in the Czech Republic?

Progolosoval_Anton_Unitsyn_flickrWritten by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

The Czech Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier expressed his desire to open a debate on the voting rights to immigrants through amendments to election laws. According to him, “immigrants’ participation in the decision-making process in their place of residence would contribute to their integration”. His ambition is to enfranchise long-term residents in the Czech Republic and grant them voting rights at least at local level. 

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The first European country to take away the right to vote from immigrants?

BallotBox_Crossed_FutUndBeidl_FickrWritten by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

A new immigration bill was submitted to the Greek parliament for debate on 14th February. The bill that will be voted in the upcoming weeks, aims to simplify the residence permit application process and facilitate labour market access for migrants. The same document, however, abolishes the right to vote for immigrants.  According to the Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis, the proposed provisions are enforcing a recent decision by the Council of State. It stipulates that the 2010 citizenship law granting greater voting rights to immigrants is unconstitutional. MIPEX argues that the new restrictive criteria will undermine the conditions for integration in Greece, undoing most of its major advancements on integration since 2007.

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Filed under Greece, Political Participation

New Korean language pre-entry requirement – an obstacle or a facilitator to family reunion?

DalWang92_Korean_Family_Lock_FlickrWritten by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

On 5th of February the South Korean Ministry of Justice announced that it will introduce a Korean language proficiency and income requirement for family reunion. According to a Ministry official, the reason behind this planned amendment is “preventing situations where people abuse marriage to South Koreans as a way of getting into the country”. MIPEX argues that this type of Korean language pre-entry requirement is more likely to be an obstacle to family reunion than a facilitator, setting slightly unfavourable conditions for spouses to learn Korean language. Continue reading

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Misguided: Despite new guidelines, Irish family reunion policy still far below standards in EU and other English-speaking countries, where Irish emigrants benefit from their generous policy

4718225577_a134568702_bWritten by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Hilkka Becker, Immigrant Council of Ireland, MIPEX national partner for Ireland

 

New Guidelines on Non-EEA Family Reunification were published by the Irish Government on the 31 of December 2013.  According to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, the guidelines “set out a comprehensive statement of Irish national immigration policy in the area of family reunification.” Our MIPEX partner, the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), evaluated the document as “a positive first step” in developing a policy in this area but one that “leaves several important issues unresolved and will not bring clarity to many Irish citizens and legal migrants who have been separated from their loved ones.”

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The German reform on dual nationality – an incomplete reform?

Written by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

The German government coalition reached an agreement on dual nationality reform. However, a thorough look at this reform reveals that it does not address the issue in a coherent fashion. Dual nationality will still remain an obstacle to the naturalisation of immigrants who meet all of the other demanding legal requirements to become German citizens.

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Filed under Access to Nationality, Germany