International Marriage Brokers and Mail Order Brides - Analysing the Need for Regulation

14-10-2016

The study was requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and commissioned, overseen and published by the Policy Department for Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs. This Study analyses the socio-legal status of the Mail-Order Bride industry in the EU, in terms of regulation, protection of rights, and the consequences of Mail-Order Bride relationships for women, men and children involved. It focuses on the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland; defines the Mail-Order Bride (MOB) phenomenon. The report uses a combination of sociological and legal research methods including desk research, expert interviews and a mapping of International Marriage Broker (IMB) websites. It finds that it is difficult to distinguish between MOB and other groups of female marriage migrants. The report identifies three main legal gaps, namely the lack of regulation of IMB activities, the lack of a harmonized regime for family reunification, and the lack of harmonized protective measures for women in case of relationship break up. There is a need for additional prevention and protection measures, since female marriage migrants are considered particularly vulnerable to domestic violence.

The study was requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and commissioned, overseen and published by the Policy Department for Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs. This Study analyses the socio-legal status of the Mail-Order Bride industry in the EU, in terms of regulation, protection of rights, and the consequences of Mail-Order Bride relationships for women, men and children involved. It focuses on the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland; defines the Mail-Order Bride (MOB) phenomenon. The report uses a combination of sociological and legal research methods including desk research, expert interviews and a mapping of International Marriage Broker (IMB) websites. It finds that it is difficult to distinguish between MOB and other groups of female marriage migrants. The report identifies three main legal gaps, namely the lack of regulation of IMB activities, the lack of a harmonized regime for family reunification, and the lack of harmonized protective measures for women in case of relationship break up. There is a need for additional prevention and protection measures, since female marriage migrants are considered particularly vulnerable to domestic violence.

External author

Julia REINOLD (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance | UNU-MERIT), Inez ROOSEN (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance | UNU-MERIT), Alexander HOOGENBOOM (Maastricht University), Ingrid WESTENDORP (Maastricht University) and Katharina KOCK (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance | UNU-MERIT)