New rules on family reunification adopted by Belgian parliament
Friday, 15 April 2016
Non-European citizens will have to wait five years to receive a residence permit for an indefinite period within the framework of family reunification. The federal parliament (La Chambre) amended on Thursday (14 April) the law on family reunification. PS, PTB and the Greens voted against the amendment while SP.a and cdH abstained.
Until now the rules on family reunification were stricter for EU nationals than nationals from third countries. The latter waited three years, subject to certain conditions, to obtain a residence permit compared to five years for family members of an EU national.
Since the Constitutional Court ruled that this was a discriminatory measure, the government decided to increase the waiting period to five years for everyone.
The Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, welcomed this change in legislation.
“Experience tells us that some people can go at length to arrange a marriage to obtain a residence permit. At a wedding, the period of ‘romantic fiction’ often continues until the end of the control period. By extending the period to five years, we make this type of migration fraud more difficult and less attractive,” Francken announced in a press release.
Another measure linked to the amendment of the law concerned the statute of limitation for legal action against fraudulently obtained residence permits. This period will be extended in certain cases to 10 years. A residence permit obtained by fraud might be cancelled.