(Dis)Connecting people? the law and practice of family reunification

Family reunification is a legal pathway to (re)unite family members living in different countries. It is a complex field of law, as different rules apply depending on the nationality and status of the persons involved. During the past decades, rules on family reunification have been made more stringent, especially for third country nationals.

From a human rights perspective, the right to respect for family life has only in specific circumstances led to an obligation for states to admit family members. Families are thus increasingly facing legal and practical obstacles, which have an impact on their psychosocial well-being and intra-family relationships, both during and after the family reunification process.

From a societal perspective, family reunification regimes and practices are key to reflect on a wide number of debates in social sciences, such as the limits of transnationalism and the gap between legal frameworks, institutional policies and street level bureaucracy.

International conference, 9-10 September 2021