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Familj, medborgarskap, migration: Sveriges politik för anhöriginvandring i ett jämförande perspektiv
Södertörns högskola, Institutionen för samhällsvetenskaper, Statsvetenskap. Uppsala universitet.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-5662-3579
2018 (svensk)Rapport (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Since the 1980s, family migration is the most common reason for foreign citizens outside the Nordic countries to be granted the right to settle in Sweden. Family migration cover cases when a person who already live in a country reunites with a family member from another country.

In June 2016, Sweden introduced a law on temporary restrictions in the possibility to achieve residence permit. The law was a direct result of the record-breaking immigration of asylum seekers experienced during the fall 2015. The measure was presented by the government as a necessity to protect the asylum reception system, as well as other central societal functions, from the strains caused by the large inflow of asylum seekers. One area where the 2016 rule changes have had the largest impact is family migration, which is the focus of study in this report. In particular, the stricter regulations meant that persons granted subsidiary protection status had very limited chances to get the right to reunite with their close family members. But the rule changes implied stricter regulations in relation to family migration affecting also other categories, and the Swedish population at large, e.g. in relation to support and housing requirements to be allowed to bring in a partner from a country outside of the EU.

Adopting a comparative perspective, this study analyses how the recent Swedish changes in family migration regulations relate (1) to existing EU legislation; (2) to other countries’ national regulations and (3) to arguments and considerations previously put forward in the Swedish policy debate, as well as arguments reflected in family migration policy debates in the neighboring countries Denmark and Norway.

The report begins with an introductory section describing the study’s aims, points of departure, method and delimitations. Thereafter follows a section which includes an overview of the numbers of family migrants in relation to other migrant categories, and a review of international research on family migration policies. The section provides a discussion about what principles, interests and values are at stake in this policy field. It is established that, besides migration policy concerns, issues revolving around family migration also bring to the fore central aspects of integration, citizenship and a society’s core values. A common European policy trend – identified in the literature as a “civic turn” in immigrant integration – is particularly highlighted. The trend reflects a renewed interest among states across Europe to actively strengthen and protect the national identity via formulation of new or sharpened requirements targeted at immigrants. Access to permanent residence permit, national citizenship or the right to reunite with a family member from abroad may for instance be conditioned with the applicant’s knowledge in the receiving state’s language, history and culture. Family migration policies potentially involve a “double conditionality” in the sense that integration requirements can be targeted both at the foreign family migrant and at the sponsor.

The empirical study is divided in two parts. In the first part an overview is presented (based on MIPEX 2015) of family migration policy regulations in the 28 EU member states plus Norway and Switzerland. The overview concerns four categories conditions and demands that (under certain conditions) the EU family reunification directive allows states to use: (1) requirements on status of residence and residence time; (2) age requirements; (3) support and housing requirements and (4) language and integration requirements. Discussing the member states’ commitments according to the directive and giving an overview of existing legislation in differeing countries, this analysis contributes to concretize what the “EU minimum level” may imply. The empirical study in this part also gives an account of how the Swedish legislation positions itself in relation to the “EU minimum level” before and after the temporary law of 2016.

The second part of the report study central policy processes in Sweden, Denmark and Norway which preceded decisions to introduce new or tougher demands and restrictions on family migration – or to reject such changes. The analysis provides a broad account of policy development in the three countries, from the turn of the millennium up to 2016, identifying what considerations, arguments and problem representations have guided the decisions. One conclusion of this analysis is that the large asylum migration in 2015 provoked reforms and changes in regulations in all three countries. But whereas the changes in Denmark and Norway were in line with policy development which had been noted during a very long (Denmark) or rather long (Norway) period of time, in Sweden the changes are to be described in terms of a sudden and paradigmatic migration policy change.

In the last section the conclusions of the study and what insights can be drawn from them in relation to future policy decisions are discussed. The report shows that the Swedish 2016 changes in family migration regulations represented a dramatic deviation from previous policies, motivated solely as a way to reduce asylum immigration. The intention was to adjust Swedish rules to the EU minimum level, in order not deviate as the country with more generous rules. For future policy decisions there is however a need of a more profound and elaborated debate and analysis, which in earnest takes into consideration the different core principles and values which are at stake in family migration.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Stockholm: Delegationen för Migrationsstudier , 2018. , s. 109
Serie
Delmi rapport ; 2018:5
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Politik, ekonomi och samhällets organisering
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37263Libris ID: lv4glqpjj0p92lcqISBN: 978-91-88021-31-1 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-37263DiVA, id: diva2:1278288
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-01-14 Laget: 2019-01-14 Sist oppdatert: 2019-01-14bibliografisk kontrollert

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