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A reassessment of family reunification in Europe: The case of Senegalese couples

Cris Beauchemin, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Pau Baizán, ICREA and Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Amparo Gonzalez-Ferrer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Contemporary policy makers in most European destination countries express a great concern about reunification of migrants’ families. New restrictions multiply in almost all countries, on the grounds that migrants would take advantage of a too lax system and that it would foster an influx of non-desirable migrants. So far, quantitative evidence is scarce on migrants’ practices in matter of family reunification. Taking advantage of a new longitudinal dataset that includes Senegalese individuals surveyed both at origin (in Senegal) and in Europe (France, Italy and Spain), we perform event-history analyses to show three things. First, couple separation is very often a long lasting situation. Second, when separated because of international migration, wives and husbands do not only reunify in Europe but quite commonly in Senegal. And third, those who reunify in Europe are those who are the most adapted or adaptable to the European culture and economy.

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Presented in Session 30: Immigration policies and migrants’ strategies