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Marriage migration, Europe 1945–2010s

Migration A–Z


  1. Marlou Schrover

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm601

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Schrover, M. 2013. Marriage migration, Europe 1945–2010s. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


This essay focuses on marriage migration in Europe after 1945. Marriage migration is an administrative category. Whether people are registered as marriage migrants depends on other migration options (Kofman 2004). Migration categories are like communicating vessels: when options in one category decrease, other categories become more important. Since 1975, north-western European countries have restricted the options for labor migration. As a result the percentage of people migrating for family formation (as marriage migration is frequently labeled) increased, as did refugee migration. After 1975, Germany was more restrictive regarding marriage migration than the Netherlands, and more liberal regarding refugees. As a result Germany received more refugees (percent wise), while the Netherlands received more marriage migrants. When both countries reformed their policies in the 1990s – Germany became more restrictive regarding refugees and the Netherlands more restrictive regarding family migration – this resulted in the swapping over of percentages.


  • gender;
  • women;
  • immigration;
  • social policy;
  • rights