"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Thursday 26 September 2013

The Danish experience and the Swedish model

Marriage without Borders :

An interesting group - which was set up in direct response to Denmark's draconian family migration laws, a little over 10 years ago. They campaign for the rights of Danish citizens and residents for family unification.

Today I learned about the 'Swedish model' - whereby those with non-EEA spouses or family members would live in Malmo, Sweden, and commute, at regular intervals, across the bridge to Copenhagen, Denmark, as a way to exercise EU rights. A situation where those affected would form lasting friendships sharing the commute across the 'bridge of love' between the two countries. Where districts of Copenhagen are full of cars with Swedish numberplates.

(They could of course use Surinder Singh, but this has been downplayed in the Danish public discourse so is less well known. Plus, the commute from Malmo to Copenhagen is really no harder than commuting from Essex or Kent to London).

Family upheaval :

Denmark and the 'combined attachment requirement' - the requirement which divides Danish families :

'Due to their subjective nature, ‘attachment’ tests in particular leave the door wide open to discriminatory interpretations. It is perhaps no coincidence that they come down hardest on couples with family or cultural ties in another country. This would have a huge impact for members of ethnic minority communities in the UK, particularly if they wished to marry someone from their ancestral homeland.'

Apparently the British government was considering an attachment requirement, based on the Danish model, as part of their proposals for the 9th July 2012 rule changes. Bad as the rules are, they could have been worse.

'In other areas, requirements set the bar for success exceptionally high in Denmark, compared to most. Yet high pass rates (e.g. of family reunions, citizenship tests) are often not interpreted as signs of success, but of the failure to design the right requirements.' :

There are lessons to be learned for British campaigners from the Danish experience, for sure!


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