University of Antwerp, Graduation Hall, Grauwzusters Cloister - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

The Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on family reunification states that “special attention should be paid to the situation of refugees on account of the reasons which obliged them to flee their country and prevent them from leading a normal family life there. More favourable conditions should therefore be laid down for the exercise of their right to family reunification”.

Although most European states allow refugees to access a facilitated procedure (in terms of economic and housing standards), scholars and practitioners point out that the time frame, the documents required as well as the economic resources needed for the procedure make family visas inaccessible to many. 

This seminar brings together legal scholars, sociologists, anthropologists and practitioners to discuss current difficulties and possible ways ahead. We invite all those interested in the topic to join us for a fruitful day of lectures and discussions.


> 14h45 - 15h00: Initial remarks by CeMIS Director, Prof. Christiane Timmerman

> 15h00 - 16h00: Paola Bonizzoni (Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan): Regulating and accessing family reunification: towards increasingly ‘earned’ rights?

> 16h00 - 16h30: Dirk Vanheule (Department of Law, University of Antwerp): The legal framework of refugee family reunification: European regulations and the Belgian case.

> 16h30 - 16h45: Q&A

> 16h45 - 17h00: Coffee Break

> 17h00 -17h30: Astrid Declercq (MYRIA- Federal Migration Centre): Family reunification with beneficiaries of international protection in Belgium: obstacles and recommendations.

> 17h30 - 18h00: Milena Belloni (CeMIS, University of Antwerp) and Ahmad Wali Ahmad Yar (Center for European Policy Studies, Brussels): Exiled and separated: The impact of national regulations and asylum laws on Eritrean and Afghan refugees' family reunification practices in Belgium.

> 18h00 - 18h30: Questions and debate

Reception and refreshments