Family Reunification in Austria. Immigrants under Universal Suspicion?


Markus Schindler

Maastricht University / UNU-MERIT

Austria’s family-reunification policies have come under increasing scrutiny, both by the local population and external observers. The Ministry of the Interior’s branch for immigrant matters is the Bundesamt für Fremdenwesen und Asyl (Federal Office for Foreign Affairs and Asylum, author’s translation). This department is the first instance for decisions on asylum and the right to stay on humanitarian grounds and, as such, at the centre of the migration debate. Continue reading

Maltese Nationality Law & Integration. The Individual Investor Programme: An infringement on the European Convention on Human Rights?

Friederike Rühmann (UNU-Merit/ MGSoG) & Sebastian Gabryjonczyk (UNU-Merit/ MGSoG)

maltaAs of 2014 Malta ranks 33 out of 38 countries, testing for various integration criteria, received a total MIPEX Score of 40 out of 100, a mark deemed slightly unfavourable. Since 2007 Malta scores a meagre 34 out of 100 when it comes to nationality.MIPEX estimates Maltese Nationality law to be the most discretionary policy in Europe. Maltese Nationality Law is deemed archaic as it mainly focuses on emigration and has not adapted to reality: Malta has since the 1970’s been a country of immigration. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates a net inflow of 2.1 migrants per 1,000 individuals over the period 2010-15. The country has harsh eligibility requirements; conditions are similar to the average EU country, however highly discretionary in practice. They include language requirements and good character, but also references from “trustworthy” non-naturalised Maltese citizens including a judge, priest, doctor, lawyer, army officer, policeman or parliamentarian. Continue reading

GFMD Civil Society Days 2015: A clear call for equal rights and opportunities for immigrants


Dr.Özge Bilgili
Maastricht Graduate School of Governance & UNU-Merit

This year the Civil Society Days (CSDs) of the Global Forum on Migration and Development 2015 took place in Istanbul, on 12-14 October. During these days, more than 250 Civil Society Organizations coming from 80 countries had their voiced heard on the most prominent issues linking migration and development. This year’s main focus included civil society’s role in fashioning global, national and thematic indicators, protecting migrants in crises and transit, reforming migrant labor employment policies and practices, social inclusion and diaspora engagement.

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Will SYRIZA’s electoral gains boost Greece’s MIPEX score?

Portrait of a Family Spaceshoe Flickr Creative CommonsBy Marina Nikolova, Junior Research Fellow at Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) with the support of Thomas Huddleston, Programme Director, MPG

The legal reforms promised by SYRIZA could substantially improve the conditions for integration in Greece, as measured by its MIPEX score, and put Greece alongside Portugal, Spain and Italy as relatively welcoming new countries of immigration. Greece’s MIPEX score could increase by over 15 points if these promises are well-implemented to address the major areas of weakness in Greece’s integration policies.
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To be or not to be Danish: that is the question!

Hamlet Castle Ruslan Kapral FlickrBy Thomas Huddleston, MPG Programme Director on Migration and Integration

International Migrants’ Day is usually a day marked by speeches full of empty words and press releases calling for action. Today, the Danish Parliament celebrated December 18 by passing its long-awaited reform to allow dual nationality. Symbolically important, Denmark becomes the 18th EU Member State to fully accept dual nationality for naturalising immigrants and its citizens abroad.
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Belgium: a nice place to visit, but can you afford to live there?

champagne truffles by LinksmanJD flickrBy Thomas Huddleston, MPG Programme Director on Migration and Integration

A 225€ fee for non-EU citizens’ residence permits would set one of the highest fees in the EU. The median fee in the EU is around 130€. While the Minister referred to France and Netherlands–neighbours with some of the EU’s highest fees–he skipped over neighbours with average fees: Germany (100-135€) and Luxembourg (50€). A 225€ fee could contravene EU law by acting as a disproportionate obstacle for low-income immigrants who meet all the legal requirements for family reunification or long-term residence.
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A question for referendum: should foreigners vote in national elections?

Be Heard Flickr rachel_titirigaBy Thomas Huddleston, MPG Programme Director on Migration and Integration

In collaboration with Serge Kollwelter, ASTI Luxembourg and Kate McMillan, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Only four countries in the world currently grant equal voting rights to foreigners. Now an even greater debate has emerged to grant voting rights in national elections in Luxembourg, where the impact of such a decision would be the greatest of all MIPEX countries, since 44% of the population are not Luxembourgian citizens. We at MIPEX turn to its comparative policy network to understand why countries may choose to answer “Yes!” in the case of New Zealand and, perhaps soon, “Ja!” in the case of Luxembourg.

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MIPEX in Use: A way forward for a National Integration Policy in Malta

Malta_blog4Written by Zvezda Vankova, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

On 13th June the human rights organisation Aditus released a report with “concrete recommendations aim­ed at national policymakers on how to maximise the success of the various stages of third country nationals’ integration process in Malta”. Using Malta’s scores on MIPEX as its starting point, consultations were organised and 60 recommendations developed on every MIPEX strand with different national stakeholders participating in the Malta Integration Network, as well as international experts, such as MPG’s director Jan NiessenContinue reading