Journal Article

Marriage-Related Migration to the UK

Published 1 January 2012 / By Nicholas Van Hear, Brooke Storer-Church, Michaela Benson, Katharine Charsley

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Spouses form the largest single category of migrant settlement in the UK, but research and policy making on marriage-related migration to Britain provides incomplete coverage of the phenomenon, having been dominated by a focus on the South Asian populations that are among the largest groups of such migrants. By bringing together immigration statistics with information from academic and third-sector sources, this article attempts to provide a more balanced and nuanced portrayal of patterns and practices of marriage-related migration to the UK. In doing so, it reveals important nationality and gender differences in migration flows and considers how varying marriage practices, social and political contexts, and policies of both receiving and sending countries may work to influence marriage-related migration streams. It also exposes the limitations and lacunae in existing research on this diverse form of migration, highlighting the danger that immigration policy made on the basis of partial evidence will produce unexpected consequences.

Van Hear, N., Storer-Church, B., Benson, M. and Charsley, K. (2012) 'Marriage-Related Migration to the UK', International Migration Review, 46(4): 861-890