Whereas family reunification has been considered an essential element of integration for European labour migration since the late 1950s, it is now under attack as fraught with abuse and undermining national solidarity and social cohesion. Given the continued presence of and need for labour migrants, national reforms have sought to introduce employment, skills-based immigration and terms of integration that, on the face of it, emphasise liberal values and civic participation. At the European level, there has been a push to create a unified approach to the treatment and rights of third-country nationals that both offers protection and preserves the sovereignty of member-states to define the terms of national belonging. Through a discussion of the EU Family Reunification Directive, I examine the liberality of recent restrictions to family reunification that set conditions for integration, and argue that family restrictions based on a concern for cultural integration push the limits of the liberal-rights framework in that they reduce the freedom and equality of the individual and undermine the spirit of family unity that has been the cornerstone of liberal immigration policy.
- Cultural/civic integration
- Family reunification
- Liberal rights
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)