Author Archives: thomashuddleston

Restrict citizenship in Southern Europe to fight irregular migration? More rhetoric than reality

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

The new Greek government wants to undermine its landmark 2010 Nationality Reform by aligning the law with other southern European countries facing irregular migration. However, Greece’s current naturalisation and birthright citizenship policies already reflect the average practice in most Western countries of immigration and the reform trends in Southern Europe. Moreover, Europe’s nationality laws are not major pull factors for irregular migration. Citizenship restrictions ‘in the name of irregular migration’ are often based on ancedotes about ‘birth tourism’ and rhetoric from the far-right.

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New Belgian Nationality Law: still something to celebrate?

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

On 19 July, a proposed new Belgian Nationality law passed the Belgian Parliament’s Justice Committee with a large majority. Naturalisation should be “migration-neutral,” meaning that applicants should be living in Belgium as long-term residents. Also, applicants should already be linguistically, socially, and economically integrated before they apply.On the eve of Belgian’s National Day, is this new proposal something to celebrate? Or will it undermine Belgium’s liberal naturalisation policy and its positive effects on integration?  Continue reading

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European Commission asks: How long should families wait to reunite?

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Most EU countries require immigrants who want to sponsor their family to hold any type of legal residence permit for one year or less. According to the European Commission, long residence requirements and long lists of excluded permits may create implementation problems and delays, which undermine immigrants’ right to family reunion, enshrined in EU law. The OECD suggests that families who can reunite quickly will catch up more quickly in learning the language and adjusting to their new society. Continue reading

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European Commission asks: When is an adult not an adult?

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

A couple can be legally married at age 18–but a non-EU couple cannot reunite together under several EU countries’ family reunion rules until age 21. Government and academic studies have evaluated the impacts. Age limits have not proven to be proportionate or effective for integration. There are also better ways to prevent forced marriages, according to former victims and women’s shelters.

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European Commission asks: When is a family not a family?

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Does the EU Family Reunion Directive reflect how you would define a family? MPG’s analysis of MIPEX and Eurostat statistics reveals that immigrant’s parents, grandparents, and adult children are somehow entitled to reunite in most countries, but few can or do apply.

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MIPEX fact-check: What countries facilitate autonomous permits for spouses?

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister proposes that reuniting spouses wait two years for an autonomous residence permit; “This is what every other immigrant receiving country — Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the U.S. do, and the only question is why we didn’t do it a while ago?” Is that true?

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Finland studies neighbours’ policies to limit family reunions

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

After national elections almost brought the True Finns to power, the new Interior Minister is looking to reform the country’s family reunion policy by looking to its Nordic neighbours. She claims that Finland’s policy is ‘more relaxed’ and raising the number of asylum-seekers, backlogs, and reception costs. Is ‘relaxed’ the right word for Finland’s policy? What do most countries expect of immigrants who want to sponsor their families? Should Finland follow its neighbours? Are these changes necessary? And how could Finland improve its family reunion procedure?

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The Sledgehammer & the Nut: using age limits to fight forced marriages

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Amber and Diego Aguilar, with the support of a British NGO, may have overturned the UK’s 21-year-age-limit for the reunification of non-EU citizens with their British or non-EU sponsor. The court found that age limits have a legitimate aim — fighting forced marriages — but disproportionate effects on other genuine couples. The very few other European countries that recently introduced these measures also face questions about how effective they really are against forced marriages.

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Commission ‘deplores weak impact’ of EU long-term residence directive

Written by Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX Research Coordinator, Co-author and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Five years after most Member States had to transpose Directive 2003/109/EC, an insignificant number of third-country nationals have become EU long-term residents. Policies restricting access to long-term residence are part of the problem, according to both the European Commission’s Application Report and the MIPEX. Who should be eligible to settle permanently in Europe? What language and integration conditions go against EU law? And what other factors are behind the Directive’s weak impact?

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