Family related migration has been a main mode of immigration into the EU over the past few decades. The EU’s Family Reunification Directive for third country nationals and their family members (IRL and UK failing to opt into same) aims to ensure the fair treatment of legally residing migrants from non-EU/EEA countries. Paragraph 4 of the Directive states that family reunification ‘helps to create sociocultural stability, facilitating the integration of third country nationals in the MS which also serves to promote economic and social cohesion’. Despite these aims, government discretion and wide interpretation have resulted in anomalies, unnecessary delays, discriminatory practices, many refusals and in cases, no independent appeals mechanisms for redress.
Although there is a large body of knowledge on the legal framework for family reunification, the impact of legal and administrative rules on the actual reunification process and on the integration more generally remains under-researched. Before this background the project aims to study in depth a) the application of the respective laws in practice, b) the impact on family life and c) compliance with EU and Human Rights Standards. The research will consider how immigration law can present obstacles to or assist integration of third country nationals and their families. As a specific objective, the project will promote admission policies that favor integration.
The project covers seven countries (UK, IRE, AT, DE, BG, PT, NL). The outputs are based on empirical research on:
• The legal and policy framework in the respective countries,
• European and national case law,
• The impact of regulations and policies on the admission of family members from third countries,
• The impact of regulations and policies on the integration of third country nationals and their families.
Project partners: Immigrant Council of Ireland, The Aire Centre, Centre for Migration Law Nijmegen, Johann Daniel Lawaetz Foundation Hamburg, High Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue Portugal (AICIDI), Institute for Legal Studies Bulgaria, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)