Ministry of the Interior’s project to prepare changes to family reunification
The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has set up a legislative project to implement the entries in the Government Programme concerning tighter conditions for family reunification. The aim is to introduce additional conditions for family reunification, as permitted by the EU Family Reunification Directive.
The Finnish Aliens Act would be amended by introducing a requirement that the spouse acting as the sponsor must be at least 21 years of age. The requirement for sufficient financial resources would be reintroduced for family members when the sponsor is a minor who has been granted international protection. In practice, the family member means the person who has custody of the minor.
In addition, a requirement for a minimum period of residence would be introduced for sponsors who have been granted international protection. In future, sponsors who have been granted international protection would have to stay two years in Finland before they can have their family members join them.
As outlined in the Government Programme, the project will investigate the possibilities of restricting the definition of family applicable in connection with family reunification so that in all situations it would only cover the spouse and children. The current legislation allows, under certain conditions, that other relatives of a sponsor who has been granted international protection may receive a residence permit on the basis of family ties.
New conditions are based on the Family Reunification Directive
The new conditions outlined in the Government Programme are based on the EU Family Reunification Directive. The Directive defines the minimum conditions for the exercise of the right to family reunification by third-country nationals residing lawfully in the territory of the Member States. Finland has not introduced all the additional conditions permitted by the Directive. The aim of the Ministry’s project is to prepare the necessary amendments to the Aliens Act.
Family reunification refers to a residence permit granted to a foreign national on the basis of family ties. A sponsor can be a foreign national or a Finnish citizen. A foreign spouse of a Finnish citizen, a family member of a foreign national working or studying in Finland, or a family member of a person who has been granted international protection in Finland may apply for family reunification.
Tuuli Tuunanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488658, [email protected]