Bech, Emily Cochran, Karin Borevi, et al. ‘A “Civic Turn” in Scandinavian Family Migration Policies? Comparing Denmark, Norway and Sweden’. Comparative Migration Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, Mar. 2017, p. 7.
Family migration policy, once basing citizens and resident foreigners’ possibilities to bring in foreign family members mainly on the right to family life, is increasingly a tool states use to limit immigration and to push newcomers to integrate into civic and economic life. The family migration policies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden range widely – from more minimal support and age requirements to high expectations of language skills, work records and even income levels. While in Denmark and increasingly in Norway growing sets of requirements have been justified on the need to protect the welfare state and a Nordic liberal way of life, in Sweden more minimal requirements have been introduced in the name of spurring immigrants’ labor market integration even as rights-based reasoning has continued to dominate. In all three countries, new restrictions have been introduced in the wake of the refugee crisis. These cases show how prioritizations of the right to family life vis-à-vis welfare-state sustainability have produced different rules for family entry, and how family migration policies are used to different extents to push civic integration of both new and already settled immigrants.