Refugee and migrant families risk being split up during the journey to the EU. Over a third of new arrivals in the past year were children, who often arrive unaccompanied as they become separated from their family. The latest FRA summary report on migration-related fundamental rights throws the spotlight on how the present situation is affecting family tracing and reunification.
Respect for family life is a fundamental right guaranteed in the EU. Family reunification is an important enabler of this and facilitates the longer-term integration of migrants into society. However, the current situation is putting this right to the test as some Member States have made reunification more difficult.
This report looks at the challenges and good practices related to family tracing and reunification that can help the development of effective rights-compliant solutions at EU and national level. Some of the main findings include:
Overall, family reunification seems to have become more difficult due to the recent changes in Member States’ policies and practices. Family tracing, which is often the necessary first step before applying for family reunification, is complicated for various reasons, despite some promising practices. More precise and specific data would be needed to better assess national practices on family reunification and family tracing and to develop effective solutions in line with fundamental rights at EU and Member State levels.
The European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States, particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered are: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Sweden.
FRA has published overviews since September 2015. Each overview covers different issues including:
While this month has a section looking specifically at family tracing and reunification, last month’s focus was on migrants with disabilities and victims of torture. Next month will review the most important fundamental rights issues from the past year that still require priority action.