27 November 2014
ECRE and the Red Cross EU Office, along with several national organisations, have released a report, Disrupted Flight - The Realities of Separated Refugee Families in the EU, on practices in 12 EU Member States in relation to family reunification.
For people fleeing war and persecution, getting family members to join them in their new host country is key to their well-being and integration. Many refugees are forced to leave their home on their own because of conflict, violence or persecution and undertake a journey to safety in Europe. The constant worry about their family left behind and the absence of any relatives in their country of asylum increase their vulnerability.
The report confirms that current procedures tend to lead to further isolation and separation of families due to the length and costs of such procedures, including strict requirements on proving family ties, and high administrative requirements, in particular for the family members, who are often in more precarious situations than the sponsor.
In order for the right to family reunification to be effective, ECRE and the Red Cross EU office recommend that family reunification procedures should be applied more flexibly, taking into account the realities of forced migrants. Access to procedures is also key to make the right to family life a reality. In that regard, ECRE and the Red Cross EU recommend further reflection so as to ensure effective access to embassies and consulates abroad, without unnecessary obstacles such as disproportionate documentary evidence or unjustified presence requirements.
This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 27 November 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.