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Family reunification - Do policies tell the whole story? The case of Ghanaian migrant parents in the UK and Netherlands
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In Europe, legal parent-child family reunifications are regulated by policies specifying the eligibility criteria that migrant parents must fulfill – two of the general conditions is having a long-term residence permit and fulfilling standardized income requirements. The emergence of transnational families – border crossing family arrangements – is often blamed on the conditions set by immigration countries. On the other hand, qualitative studies in the West African context indicate that transnational family life can be a strategic choice, arguing that West African family practices, such as fostering, are compatible with transnational family life and that parent’s preferences for the child to be brought up in the country of origin is one driver behind separation. Taking the case of Ghanaian migrant parents in the UK and Netherlands, the aim of this study is to explore what factors are associated with if and where parent-child reunification takes place – in the immigration country or the country of origin, with a focus on the interplay between family reunification policies, migrant family practices/norms and gender. The research question is: Do the policies that frame family reunification in the UK and Netherlands determine whether and where parent-child reunification takes place? And, how is the outcome affected by Ghanaian family practices/norms and gender? The analysis is made using binomial logistic regression on a selection of 167 current and return migrant parents from the MAFE-Ghana data, collected in 2009. The results indicate that having a high occupational status has a positive effect on reunification in any location, while a long-term legal status only increases the likelihood of reunification in the immigration country. Indicators for family status show mixed results; while having a partner in the UK or Netherlands has a gendered positive effect on the likelihood of reunification in Europe, it also tends to prolong parent-child separation for migrants who do not reunify in Europe. Against expectations, the availability of alternative caregivers in Ghana does not impact the outcome in any direction and no significant difference is found between the likelihood of reunification in the UK or Netherlands. The findings do not support the notion that transnational family life is a strategy for Ghanaian migrant parents; the conclusion is that policies strongly influence whether and where transnational parent-child separation ends.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 48
Keywords [en]
family reunification, migration policy, transnational families, Ghana, fostering, gender
National Category
Social Sciences Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-140078OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-140078DiVA, id: diva2:1077325
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Available from: 2017-02-27 Created: 2017-02-27 Last updated: 2017-02-27Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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