Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law


For the last fifteen years, the Migration Law research program of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has been one of the most prominent programs in the field. It aims at tracking the multiplicity of complex developments in migration law that take place at the international, European and national levels. Research is conducted on diverse topics, including asylum and refugee law and family reunion law. This implies research into the human costs of border control, the intersection between the family and migration law, the role of the judiciary, 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)), a NWO VENI grant in 2010 (Brouwer), a NWO Research Talent grant in 2012 (Battjes and Stronks) and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2017 (de Hart). In addition section members have conducted research for among others, the European Commission, the European Parliament, UNHCR, WODC and Vluchtelingenwerk.


The research group is very visible in the public debate, and its scholars are actively participating in advisory committees to the government and non-governmental organizations and publish frequently on, where topical migration law issues are explained for a broader public.


The research group provides yearly bachelor courses on migration law and human rights. Since September 2015, the research group provides a master’s track (LL.M) on International Migration and Refugee Law, that attracts students from all over the world. Part of that track is the Migration Law Clinic, that provides high-quality and independent legal advice on complex issues in the field of European migration law to external clients such as (practicing) lawyers and non-governmental organisations. In addition, different members are involved in postgraduate courses for practising lawyers, through the VU Law Academy, and for the Dutch judiciary, through SSR (Training and Study Centre for the Judiciary).