Refugees from the Syrian Civil War who have escaped warfare are subsequently forced to navigate urgent and complex legal issues. A Filipino mother seeking reunification with her family in Europe faces similar obstacles. Both are confronted with the inter-relationships between humanitarian and human rights law, and the interactions between international and domestic legal systems.
Due to the complex interrelation between different jurisdictions and fields of law, international migration and refugee law must be analyzed from a multitude of angles and disciplines. This specialization studies international migration from the perspective of international and European law, and focuses on how they function in domestic legal orders.
The interplay between international, European and domestic law is a specific focus of this specialization and enables you to understand and analyze the complexity of the key issues of contemporary International Migration and Refugee Law.
During the master program you will also have plenty opportunity to work on your skillset. Clearly you will train your academic skills in all courses offered during the master. You can enhance your writing skills in the compulsory course Refugee and Family Migration Law (in which you write a paper) and in the courses Irregular Migration, Philosophy of international law and migration and the Migration Law Clinic. You can use these writing skills while writing your master thesis. Oral skills will be practiced during the moot courts and working groups of the compulsory course Migration and Legal Remedies. The Migration Law Clinic offers students the chance to define and work on their own learning goals, such as cooperation skills or communication skills and reflect on the development of those skills during the course. Master students are encouraged to enhance their skills by taking part in extracurricular activities, such as Know Your Rights (becoming a buddy of a refugee/asylum seeker), writing blogs, taking part in moot court competitions or presenting work experiences to their fellow students.
Are you interested in a close and rigourous scrutiny of legal instruments involved in migration and refugee law and their relation with fundamental human rights law? Then the Master’s in International Migration and Refugee Law is the programme for you.
For fifteen years now, the Amsterdam Centre of Migration and Refugee Law of VU Amsterdam has been one of the most prominent programmes in the field. It aims at tracking the multiplicity of complex developments in migration law that take place at the global, European and national levels. Research topics include asylum and refugee law, and family reunion law. This extends to research into the human costs of border control, the intersection between the family and migration law, the role of the judiciary, the meaning of time for residence entitlements, the relation between (irregular) migration and the welfare state, the EU principle of mutual trust and the role of time in migration law. Methods are varied, focusing on legal doctrinal, sociological, philosophical questions as well as more practice-oriented matters.
The excellent quality of the programme is reflected in the scholars’ numerous publications and in two VICI grants from NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) in 2010 (Van Walsum) and 2013 (Spijkerboer), two NWO VENI grants in 2010 (Brouwer) and in 2018 (Slingenberg), a NWO Research Talent grant in 2012 (Battjes and Stronks) and in 2019 (Spijkerboer and Dez), an NWO Comenius grant in 2019 (Reneman) and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2017 (De Hart). Members have conducted research for the European Commission, the European Parliament, UNHCR, WODC and Vluchtelingenwerk.
The research group is very visible in the public debate, and its scholars are active in advisory committees to the government and non-governmental organizations and publish frequently on Verblijfblog.nl, where topical migration law issues are explained for a broader public.
On completing this Master’s programma, you can start working or do more research. Our graduates, work for international (non-governmental) organizations involved in migration, e.g. UNHCR, the European Commission and EASO and national and local NGO’s. Moreover, they are employed as immigration lawyers, clerks at national courts and employees for national immigration services and ministries as well as PhD students at universitities.
As international and national law on migration are profoundly intertwined, solid knowledge of international migration and refugee law is also most valuable for national institutions and organizations dealing with migration law, such as migration law firms, the judiciary, national and local governments or NGOs.