Trans-national families and the Impact of economic migration on families
It is more and more common to see a member of the family moving to another country and leaving their family members (including partner, children, elders...) in the country of origin. These families are known as "transnational families” and this has emerged from the understanding that migration does not end with settlement and that migrants maintain regular contacts across borders. However, EU migration and integration policies are designed as "migrant-centred”, based on the single individual who is moving and considering his/her specific features (woman, child, worker…) but do not reflect on the family dimension of migration.
This publication wants to provide a picture of an ignored European reality and draw the attention of policy makers on a growing phenomenon that has and will have strong implications on several sectors of EU policy.
The paper illustrates the inter-linkages of a series of policies, especially, but not only on employment and care sector, family reunification policies and the impact of ITC and parenting.
Today, an estimated 214 million people no longer live in their country of origin. According to the same UN statistics, this figure has more than doubled since the sixties. COFACE calls on European and national decision-makers to strengthen support to migrant families. COFACE is convinced that, in migration policies, taking the family dimension into account is of strategic importance at this stage. COFACE is currently working in four directions within the broader field of migration policies:
The right to family reunification
COFACE responded to the Green paper issued by the European Commission in which it stresses that the right to family life is recognised in International and European Human Rights Instruments and therefore, families should be supported and facilitated in the fulfilment of such a right, with no discrimination of individuals or of family form. Family reunification is a vector of social cohesion and integration, therefore, no family should be discriminated and prevented from such right.
Transnational families and children left behind
Economic and labour and circular migration, both from third countries and within the EU, is an important phenomenon that can not be neglected. Migration has a deep impact and important consequences of families, especially considering that the number of transnational families is constantly increasing. This leads also to the phenomenon of the so-called "children left behind”. Social consequences of economic migration can not be underestimated and COFACE is currently engaging in activities to better explore this phenomenon. COFACE is also partner of the network www.childrenleftbehind.eu
Education and the role of migrant parents for integration of migrant and Roma children
For years, we have been lobbying so that education takes on a central role in preparing for active participation to society and in the promotion of social inclusion. COFACE believes that the education policy challenge cannot be looked at without considering a wider policy challenge: their integration. Successful integration would indeed prevent migrant children to go through the same conditions of social alienation and hardship that their parents have to face.
The role of migrant parents in the school education of their children is often underestimated or inappropriately dealt with. Strengthening the ability of migrant parents to support their children is a key instrument for success at school, and beyond for social inclusion.
The Family dimension of the EU Asylum policy
Considering the recent changes in the EU Asylum policy and the commitments of Member States to establish a Common European Asylum System by 2012, COFACE is working to analyse the family dimension of the current EU Asylum policy.
Published on 09 Nov 2011
Updated on 03 Nov 2015