Switzerland: The Federal Administrative Court rules on family reunification for minors who come of age during administrative procedures

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

On July 25 2018, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court ruled on case F-3045/2016, regarding the case of a teenage Cameroonian national, who requested family reunification with her mother, already a holder of a Swiss residence permit. The cantonal migration services rejected the application, due to late submission and the lack of major family reasons that would justify a delayed family reunification.

An appeal against the rejection was dismissed by the regional State Council, and this decision was in turn annulled by the cantonal Court. After the annulment, an application for a residence permit for the daughter was lodged with the State Secretariat for Migration, but was again denied due to the lack of significant family reasons. The mother lodged an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court, arguing against the strict formalism of the migration services regarding time limits.

Diverging from its previous line of reasoning, the Federal court found that the protection of Article 8 ECHR should still be applied in cases of appellate review, where the appellant reaches the age of majority during the procedure. In the context of this reversal of case law, the court cited the current jurisprudence on the matter and followed a rigorous legal analysis of the present need to review Article 8 ECHR. Apart from the consideration of Swiss constitutional principles, such as timeliness and prohibition of arbitrariness, the Court also heavily relied on relevant European case law.

The federal court cited the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in A and S and reiterated the finding that the right to family reunification should not depend on the course or speed of administrative procedures. It then went on to include several relevant ECtHR cases on the scope of the right to family life, including that of Osman v. Denmark, Sen v. The Netherlands and Tuquabo-Tekle v. The Netherlands.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. You can find a summary of this decision in English on the website of the Swiss Federal Administrative Tribunal here.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.



Family reunification
Family unity (right to)