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France cannot stop family of non-EU residents from reuniting

The highest administrative court called the ban on reunification visas for family and children of non-EU nationals resident in France “an attack” on children’s interests

22 January 2021
By Hannah Thompson

France cannot stop partners and children of non-EU parents resident in France from reuniting due to Covid-19, the high court has ruled, calling the measure “a disproportionate attack on normal family life”.

Le Conseil d'Etat, the highest administrative court in France, made the judgement on Thursday January 21, adding that it was “an attack on the higher interests of the child”.

As a result, the court lifted the freeze on issuing family reunification visas to partners and children of non-EU citizens that are resident in France, which had been imposed by the government in March 2020 due to the health crisis.

This meant that family members and children of non-EU nationals resident in France were not able to enter the country, in contrast to family members of French citizens or EU nationals.

The court case was brought by several human rights associations, including la Ligue des droits de l'Homme and NGO la Cimade, as well as nine associations and unions representing non-EU nationals that had been affected by the ban.

In the ruling, the judge said that even in normal times, the number of people entering the country to join non-EU family members resident in France did not exceed 60 per day.

He said: “The government provides no evidence that such a flow [of so few people] could contribute significantly to an increase in the risk of propagation of Covid-19.”

The judge added that people entering the country could still be required to be tested upon entry, and made to isolate if they test positive for the virus.

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