Category Archives: Family Reunion

Family Reunification in Austria. Immigrants under Universal Suspicion?


Markus Schindler

Maastricht University / UNU-MERIT

Austria’s family-reunification policies have come under increasing scrutiny, both by the local population and external observers. The Ministry of the Interior’s branch for immigrant matters is the Bundesamt für Fremdenwesen und Asyl (Federal Office for Foreign Affairs and Asylum, author’s translation). This department is the first instance for decisions on asylum and the right to stay on humanitarian grounds and, as such, at the centre of the migration debate. Continue reading


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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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


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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A Shore Never Reached – Bulgarian Integration Policies since MIPEX III

By Zvezda Vankova, researcher at the Open Society Institute Sofia, MIPEX national partner for Bulgaria**

Two years after Bulgaria has been assessed with the MIPEX for the first time, positive developments are registered only in two areas regulated by the acquis communautaire – family reunification and long- term residence. The legislative changes harmonizing Bulgarian legislation with the respective EU directives do not influence the overall MIPEX score of the country and have very limited impact on the integration policies for migrants in Bulgaria.

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How to Respond to the EU Family Reunion Consultation

On 7 December 2011 the Migration Policy Group held a webinar ‘How to Respond to the EU Family Reunion Consultation‘ where Thomas Huddleston, MPG Policy Analyst and Central Research Coordinator of the MIPEX, presented the four MPG Briefings on Family Reunion and the relevant MIPEX data to assist organisation in drafting their own responses to the EU Consultation. (N.B. The deadline for responses to the Green Paper is 1 March 2012)

The webinar recording is available in two parts. Part 1 is a recording of the presentation by Thomas Huddleston outlining the questions from the EU consultation one by one, as well as presenting data relevant to the consultation. Continue reading


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