Marriage over time and space among male migrants from Cameroon to Germany

Annett Fleischer, Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit

Restrictive immigration and integration policies in Germany increasingly force African migrants to develop strategies and practices to acquire legal residence and obtain an essential work permit. Our account of Cameroonian men in Germany contributes to the discussion about the role of the nation state in transnational migration processes. Since national policies in the receiving country determine the right to settle and the risk of expulsion, the German nation state plays a decisive role for African migrants. The present paper emphasizes the impact of national migration policies on Cameroonian men’s marriage strategies. Diminishing possibilities for legalizing their status in Germany by other means make Cameroonians increasingly dependent on sustaining a three-year marriage to a German wife. Mainly based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cameroon and Germany, the present article explores the distribution of marriage over time and space as a means to secure the right to work and stay in Germany.

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Presented in Session 4: Migrant Demographic Behaviour: Nuptiality