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The N-VA wants stricter rules on family reunification
“Family reunification remains the biggest migration channel into Belgium.” The House of Representatives is debating two bills by the N-VA this week that aim to tighten up the regulations for family reunification. “We must not be naive; asylum seekers and their smugglers seek out destination countries where the rules for family reunification are the most lenient,” say Theo Francken, Yoleen Van Camp and Darya Safai.
MP Theo Francken points out that family reunification remains the biggest migration channel into Belgium. “In 2011, we succeeded in tightening the rules with a disinterested so-called ‘Swedish’ majority. For example, we introduced a stable, regular and adequate minimum income for accommodation, compulsory health insurance and a requirement for decent housing. These drastic threshold increases led to more qualitative family reunifications. It is now time to go a step further.”
Increasing the financial threshold and excluding aid schemes
MP Yoleen Van Camp explains the two bills submitted by the N-VA. “On the one hand, we want to further increase the financial threshold for family reunification from 120% to 140% of the living wage and an additional 10% per dependent person. In addition, we continue to exclude certain social assistance schemes such as living wages, family allowances and integration and bridging allowances from the minimum income calculation. Family reunification is an international right, of course, but we do want financial self-sufficiency to be guaranteed, which we are doing with the increase of this income threshold.”
Belgium is more flexible than neighbouring countries
MP Darya Safaï knows that recognised refugees are of course entitled to family reunification. “But unlike the neighbouring countries, our scheme is much more flexible. While countries such as Germany under Angela Merkel tightened family reunification and even put it on hold temporarily and worked with quotas, nothing happened here. Recognised refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are allowed to bring their family to Belgium without any conditions for 12 months following the recognition. We want to reduce this to three months as in most neighbouring countries. “We must not be naive; asylum seekers and their smugglers seek out destination countries where the rules for family reunification are the most lenient.”