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Mark Klaassen in Nieuwsuur on entry restriction for family members

Suspending family reunification of refugee status holders is illegal. That was the ruling of a Dutch court in a case brought by a Syrian woman with asylum status. The (temporary) restriction on entry for family members was one of the pillars of the cabinet’s asylum deal in August.

Mark Klaassen, Assistant Professor of Immigration Law at Leiden University and a member of the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs for the Dutch government and parliament, is not surprised and had expected the court to rule in this way. The right to family reunification is based on the EU Family Reunification Directive. It states that the moment an application for family reunification is approved, the foreign national must be given all cooperation to obtain a visa. In this case, the Secretary of State has created a policy in which he does not grant all cooperation, but instead tells the foreign national to wait another six months until accommodation is available. Therefore, full cooperation is not being provided and this is in breach of the Directive.

The Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs has also indicated that the measures taken in this area are in breach of both immigration law and the EU right to family reunification. The ruling does not automatically mean that all courts are bound by it. If the State Secretary decides not to change his policy, this will lead to more court proceedings. It is expected that future rulings will go the same way.

View the full Nieuwsuur broadcast (in Dutch)

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