The relevant date for considering the age of unaccompanied minor refugees for the purpose of family reunification

In January 2017 the Migration Law Clinic finalised an expert opinion in the context of a preliminary question of the district court of Amsterdam of 26 October 2016. The question concerns the right to family reunification of persons who were an unaccompanied minor at the moment of their asylum application but adults at the moment their asylum status was granted. The question reads as follows:

In matters relating to family reunification for refugees, must the term ‘unaccompanied minor’, within the meaning of Article 2(f) of Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification, also cover a third-country national or stateless person below the age of 18 who arrives on the territory of a Member State unaccompanied by an adult responsible by law or custom and who:

  • applies for asylum,
  • during the asylum procedure, attains the age of 18 on the territory of the Member State,
  •  is granted asylum with retroactive effect to the date of the application, and
  • subsequently applies for family reunification?

The expert opinion addresses this question and focuses on the purpose of the Family Reunification Directive, the declaratory nature of the refugee status and principles of EU law, including the principle of effectiveness.

The case (Case C-550/16) is currently pending before the Court of Justice (CJEU). The CJEU will hold an oral hearing on 14 September 2017. The CJEU has asked the Dutch and Polish Government and the European Commission to respond to the expert opinion of the Migration Law Clinic. The expert opinion will be published on this website when the CJEU has issued its judgment.

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