Since 2002, Denmark has had some of the strictest rules on family migration in Europe. Laws such as “the 24-year-rule” and “the attachment requirement” have clearly affected the marital practices of ethnic minorities in Denmark and have reduced family migration from non-western countries substantially. Now, in collaboration with colleagues from both within and outside of Denmark, SFI researchers are publishing a book on some of the far-reaching and varied consequences of this legislation. The peer-reviewed book (which is in Danish) is entitled “Marriage and Migration – the consequences of the Danish rules on marriage and migration, 2002 – 2012”.
Edited by senior researcher Anika Liversage from SFI, and assistant professor Mikkel Rytter from Aarhus University, the eleven chapters cover a range of different issues. Most chapters are qualitative, and are primarily based on interviews with individuals who have been affected by the rules in different ways; from young ethnic minorities in Denmark, whose reactions to the rules are charted across the decade after 2002, to both ethnic minority couples as well as individuals in “mixed marriages” who have moved to Sweden in order to be together. In this context, one chapter builds on interviews with Danish-Cuban couples, and thus sheds light on some of the consequences of the rules for individuals who are outside the primary target groups. Indeed, the rules have primarily been aimed at reducing marriage migration into “traditional” – more or less arranged – marriages of ethnic minority couples. Some such marriages have taken place between relatives, and have therefore been affected by yet another law – “the rule of presumption of forced marriages”, which generally equates marriages between first and second cousins with “forced marriages”, with the result that entry permits are not granted to such couples. The genesis, as well as some of the consequences, of this specific rule also figure in the book.
Two chapters in the book draw on Danish register data. One looks at whether the 24-year-rule has increased the level of education among ethnic minorities, and comes to the conclusion that such an effect cannot be documented. Another chapter investigates, whether the marriage migrants who were able to enter Denmark immediately after the law changed, as compared to the ones who arrived immediately before these changes, have better been able to find employment. Such an effect could be expected, as some of the stricter demands made entry permits dependent upon higher levels of education, for example. This analysis also concludes, however, that such an effect cannot be documented.
Overall, the book gives a subtle picture of the consequences of complex legislation which has governed marriage migration into Denmark for more than a decade, and which has subsequently served as “inspiration” to politicians in other countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Norway. Among the authors contributing to the anthology are Vibeke Jakobsen and Tina Jensen (SFI), Garbi Schmidt and Yvonne Mørch (Roskilde University Centre), Martin Bak Jørgensen (Aalborg University Centre), Rikke Wagner (London School of Economics) and Nadine Fernandez (State University of New York). To celebrate the publication of the book, SFI will be hosting a book-launch seminar on Wednesday, the 15th of January.
A few days before this event – on the 9th and 10th of January – an international seminar on marriage and migration will take place at SFI. Over two days, researchers from several parts of Denmark will present and discuss papers with colleagues from the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as from a number of different British universities. Participants include Professor Eleonore Kofman (Middelsex University), and researchers Saskia Bonjour (Leiden University), Marianna Tamburlini (University of Lisbon), Isik Kulu-Glasgow (Ministry of Security and Justice, Holland) and Hélène Neveu Kringelback and Leslie Fesenmeyer (both Oxford University). The seminar will be hosted by senior researcher Anika Liversage (SFI) and lecturer Kathrine Charsley (Bristol University).
Seminar on marriage and migration: 9th – 10th of January, 2013.
Book-launch: 15th of January, 15.30 – 18.00.