Family reunification process for minors to be streamlined in future
When a family member of a minor who has been granted international protection applies for family reunification, the family member may be granted a residence permit without the requirement for sufficient financial resources of sponsors who are minors. This will promote the protection of family life and the realisation of the best interests of the child. The President of the Republic approved the amendment to the Aliens Act on 20 December.
The aim of the amendment is that more minors who have been granted international protection can live with their parents. In addition, it will bring legislation in line with the established case law: to date, derogations have been made to the requirement if exceptionally serious grounds have existed or if it has been in the best interests of the child.
In addition, the definition of a minor will be specified in all matters concerning residence permits on the basis of family ties. In future, the status of being a minor will be determined according to the date on which the family member’s residence permit application is submitted, no longer according to the date on which the application is decided. In this way, obtaining a residence permit for a family member will not depend on the length of the application processing period. This amendment is based on the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The amendments will enter into force on 1 February.
The amendments are based on the Government Programme, according to which problems relating to family reunification and the reasonable income limits applied to family reunification sponsors who have been granted international protection will be examined, having regard to the protection of family life, the best interests of the child and the standards and practices governing the requirement for sufficient financial resources that are applied in other Nordic countries. The Government Programme also states that the application of the requirement for sufficient financial resources to minor family reunification sponsors who have been granted a residence permit due to a need for international protection will be discontinued.
Removing barriers to family reunification promotes the Government’s policies that take a positive approach to fundamental and human rights and to a child- and family-friendly society. In addition to the Constitution, the right to family life is ensured in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Tuuli Tuunanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 658, [email protected]
Valtioneuvoston yleisistunto 20.12.2022 VN 111/2022 (In Finnish)
Tasavallan presidentin esittely 20.12.2022 TP 112/2022 (In Finnish)