Misuse of the Right to Family Reunification: Marriages of Convenience and False Declarations of Parenthood - EU Synthesis (EMN)

Based on the main findings of national contributions from 24 EMN NCP, the report highlights similarities and differences in means of prevention, detection and action, as well as statistics related to marriages of convenience and false declarations of parenthood.

Cover page of EMN synthesis report on Misuse of Family Reunification Right

Download publication

This EMN Study identifies the practices followed by the (Member) States in addressing misuse of the right to family reunification through marriages of convenience or false declarations of parenthood.

Whilst the perception amongst policymakers and the media in particular indicates this may be a widespread phenomenon, the evidence presented in this study suggests that marriages of convenience do occur, but it is not yet possible to fully quantify this across all (Member) States in a comparable manner.

A number of (Member) States are developing policy or amending legislation in order to (better) tackle the misuse. Of particular concern for some Member States are marriages of convenience between a third-country and EU national which, for them, occurs more often than between thirdcountry nationals.

(Member) States have a range of approaches in place to identify and investigate both marriages of convenience and false declarations of parenthood, although they vary between the (Member) States.

However, (Member) States face many common challenges in identifying a marriage of convenience from a genuine marriage. Not only is this a sensitive matter in terms of respecting fundamental rights, and the (Member) States are fully committed to their obligations in this respect, but also an investigation tends to be time and resource intensive with the burden of proof most often placed on the (Member) State authority(ies).

For more information and findings, please consult the synthesis report.

Specific information on the Belgian policy and practice in this field can be found in the Belgian contribution.

Other national contributions are available on the web site of EMN Europe.

Publication Date:
Wed 27 Jun 2012
Main theme:
Publication type: