Misuse of the Right to Family Reunification: Marriages of Convenience and False Declarations of Parenthood in Belgium (EMN)

In this national contribution to the EMN focussed study, the Belgian Contact Point clarifies the scope of the issue and presents national means of prevention, detection and actions against such misuses, as well as statistics in this field.

This focussed study responds to a growing concern that family reunification is being misused as a route into settlement in the EU. It focuses on two specific types of misuse: marriages of convenience and false declarations of parenthood.

The study identifies the scale and scope of the above mentioned types of misuse of the right to family reunification and provides available statistics in order to estimate the intensity and main characteristics of the problem. It summarizes Belgian legislation, policy and practice in the prevention, detection and action against such misuses, as well as gaps and challenges in these fields.

Main questions addressed are the following:

  • How are concepts of "marriage" and "family" defined and understood in the legislation and practice in relation to the issues of marriages of convenience and false declarations of parenthood for the purpose of migration?
  • What are the national legislative frameworks that are designed to prevent marriages of convenience and false declarations of parenthood? What are the gaps?
  • How are these forms of misuse detected and investigated? What are the factors triggering an investigation?
  • What evidence is needed to prove/disprove it? What sources of information can be used to determine misuses of family reunification?
  • How are misuses acted on, once detected? What are the penalties and who is sanctioned.

The Belgian contribution was analyzed together with national contributions from other Member States in a synthesis and comparative EU report as well as an EU Inform, following States' concern in the topic and consultation on the future of the Directive 2003/86.

Publication Date:
Wed 25 Apr 2012
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