Abstract: In recent years, several member states of the European Union have tightened the criteria for the legal immigration of a partner from outside the European Union. In the Netherlands, the income requirement for „family formation‟ was raised in 2004 from 100% to 120% of the minimum wage, potentially excluding about thirty percent of the working population from eligibility. The outcomes of this measure for international couples and, on the aggregate level, for migration flows were examined on the basis of administrative trend data and fifty in-depth interviews among international couples. It is demonstrated that the potential power of governments to intervene in partner migration risks being at odds with strongly felt cultural values surrounding partner choice and family life. Partner immigration decreased substantially, especially among poorer groups (ethnic minorities, women, youngsters). At the same time, the measure put pressure on the well-being of a segment of the international couples. In 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Dutch income requirement contradicts the EU directive on family reunification.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/23017
Series CIMIC: Citizenship, Migration & the City
Journal European Journal of Migration and Law
Note Accepted Manuscript, published in Vol 13, on pp 95-121
Leerkes, A.S, & Kulu-Glasgow, I. (2011). Playing hard(er) to get. The State, International Couples, and the Income Requirement. European Journal of Migration and Law, 1–49. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/23017