Research activities

The Institute of Immigration Law is involved in research at various levels.

The Institute's research activities

The Institute of Immigration Law is involved in research at various levels. Fundamental research is conducted by employees who are writing a thesis in the field of Immigration Law.  The Institute also conducts applied scientific research. This kind of contract research is often commissioned by national and international clients. The Institute seeks to research current points of law in the field of Immigration Law while noting the tension between theory and practice.  

Current PhD - research

  • Mark Klaassen MA LL.M, The meaning of the right to family reunification

    Mark Klaassen is conducting PhD research on the meaning of the right to family reunification. His research is supervised by Prof. Rodrigues. Within international law states have a wide discretion to determine whether an immigrant has the right to reside within its territory. However, this discretion is limited by different instruments of international law on the right to reside in a state as a family member of a legally residing resident of that state. For example, a right of admission as a family member can, in particular circumstances, be derived from Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. There are also several instruments under EU law, most notably Directive 2003/86 on the right to family reunification, in which the right to be admitted as a family migrant is laid down. Individuals who wish to make use of the rights derived from international and European law can, in principle, only claim a right to family reunification in the domestic legal system of the state in which they reside. As such, individuals have to rely on the implementation of the different provisions of international and European law on the right to family reunification within their domestic legal system. In this research Mark Klaassen is investigating the meaning of the right to family reunification in four member states of the EU. The selected member states are Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

  • Drs. Ch. Mommers, the right and obligation of voluntary return for aliens without a legal status.  

    The starting point of this dissertation are the rights and obligations of the different actors involved in the practice of voluntary return: the alien, the host state, and the state of return. These different rights and obligations may clash. The research will explore the international, European and domestic legal foundations of these rights and obligations, the specific conflicts that arise between them, and how these can be reconciled within a framework that adequately protects the interests of all parties involved in voluntary return.  

  • Mariana Gkliati, LL.M (cum laude), Who's watching the watchmen? Effective legal protection against human rights violations by EU agencies in the field of migration

    Mariana Gkliati is currently conducting doctoral research under the supervision of Prof. dr. Peter Rodrigues and Prof. dr. Leonard Besselink. Her PhD research focuses on the legal protection of individuals for human rights violations in the area of asylum and migration attributed to the EU agencies Frontex, Europol, LISA, and EASO. The human rights sensitivity of the agencies’ activities can lead to actual violations, for instance with respect to accessing the asylum procedure or data protection. This study aims to examine the legal accountability of these agencies for human rights violations and investigate the effectiveness of the available national and European legal remedies. The center of interest of the research lies in the developments in the field of effective judicial protection at the European level. Namely, it is only since 2009, when the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force that the CJEU has competence to review the legality of acts of EU agencies (Article 263 TFEU). Next to this, the Lisbon Treaty newly provides for the mandatory accession of the EU to the ECHR, while Protocol 14 has been added to the ECHR to facilitate the accession. As a result, individuals are expected in the future to be able to lodge complaints against acts of EU agencies before the ECtHR. Finally, a case study will be conducted with respect to Frontex operations in Greece, with the aim to look into the legal and practical impediments to seeking redress for such violations.

  • Gerrie Lodder, Exploitation of migrant workers: the combat of human trafficking and the protection of victims

    Migrant workers are a vulnerable group in the labour market. This is especially the case for migrants residing illegally in a state, but also for migrants whose right of residence depends on having paid work, or immigrants whose awareness of their rights in their guest country is reduced by a language and / or knowledge gap. The exploitation of migrant workers as a special category of vulnerable workers is on the political agenda both at international and national level. Since  the entry into force of the UN Palermo Protocol in 2003 the exploitation of persons in a work situation is  regarded as a special form of human trafficking. The approach to trafficking based on the Palermo Protocol is a criminal approach aimed at prosecution of the offence of trafficking in human beings. In the Netherlands, the definition of trafficking from the Palermo Protocol is implemented in article 273f Criminal Code.
    Combating labour exploitation of migrants through criminal law is only one of the possible approaches. Other legal possibilities lie in the enforcement of labour laws and the Aliens Employment Act. EU law also offers tools to protect the position of migrant workers, both when it comes to Union citizens and in respect of third country nationals.
    This research focuses on the question of what legal options are available in international and national law to combat the exploitation of migrant workers in the Netherlands and whether these legal options are adequate.

Completed PhD-research

  • Mr. M. Reneman, The fundamental right of fair asylum procedures in the European Community.

    The purpose of the research is to identify the meaning and content of the community law principle of effective legal and judicial protection for the new asylum directives and regulations under Title IV EC Treaty. In EC law, fundamental rights are effectuated in the form of principles of community law, formulated by the Court of Justice. Though these principles are inspired by human rights treaties, the principles have an autonomous content. Expectedly, in asylum cases, a unified guiding principle will emerge for clarifying the scope and application of unclear or unsatisfactory provisions of the relevant new asylum directives and regulations. 
  • C. Smyth (B.A., LL.B, LL.M), Rights of the child in EC immigration and asylum legislation

    The research anticipates the coming together of two areas of law: the child rights in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Common European Asylum System. Previously, the connection was tenuous: the Charter was not legally binding and therefore there was no legal requirement that phase one CEAS should strictly conform to the rights therein. Now the connection is clear: the Charter it legally binding, ergo phase two CEAS must comply with it. In this context, this thesis seeks to explore the meaning of the child-specific rights in the Charter, in general and abstract terms, and in the specific context of asylum, in order to ascertain whether the rights are respected in the CEAS instruments.

    This dissertation resorts under the programme entitled ‘Securing the rule of law in a world of multilevel jurisdiction’ of the Meijers Institute.

Contract research

 The Institute of Immigration Law carries out both short and long term research for third parties. In 2009, amongst others, research was conducted for the Ministry of VROM (naturalization), the Scientific Research and Documentation Center of Justice WODC (European Law and migration) and the European Fundamental Rights Agency (return procedures).

For questions about contract research please contact Prof. mr. P.R. Rodrigues (071-527 8822) or Mr. drs. G. G. Lodder (071-527 7727).

Last Modified: 18-05-2015