Right to family life and best interests of the child form basis for legislative project on family reunification
The Ministry of the Interior has sent out for comments a draft government proposal on amending the Aliens Act. The aim of the proposal is to ensure that people who receive international protection can exercise their right to family life as fully as possible. A further aim is to make sure that the best interests of the child are upheld in family reunification cases involving minor children who receive international protection.
The amendment of the Aliens Act would mean that family members of persons receiving international or temporary protection would not need to fulfil the requirement for sufficient financial resources to receive a residence permit in situations where the family was formed before the sponsor’s arrival in Finland.
More minors who have been granted international protection could live with their parents
The aim of the proposal is to promote the best interests of the child in situations involving the reunification of minors who have been granted international protection, so that more children receiving international protection could live with their parents. When the sponsor is a minor who has been granted international protection, a residence permit on the grounds of family ties could be refused more rarely based on circumventing the entry regulations. It is also important to take care that no one takes advantage of the child for the purpose of gaining entry into the country.
The proposal also aims to specify that, in accordance with the recently adopted ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the minor status of the child should be the time when the residence permit application of the family member was submitted. It is important to safeguard an equal right to family life for the child both nationally and among the EU Member States rather than at random depending on the date of the residence permit application decision.
The draft proposal is 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 human rights- and fundamental rights-friendly and child- and family-friendly policies. In addition, the right to family life is ensured in Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Tuuli Tuunanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 658, [email protected]