Perpetuation of international migration from Turkey to Switzerland in the form of marriage migration: describing the incidence

Ceren Topgul, University of Geneva
Philippe Wanner, University of Geneva

International migration history from Turkey to Western Europe is back to the labour demand emerged in Europe in 1960s. In Switzerland, according to the official statistics, total number of migrants from Turkey increased from 645 in 1960 to 12,215 in 1970 and to 72,633 in 2007. Following the first flow dominated by labour migrants, international migration progressively took other forms such as family reunification and asylum seeking. The former continued after the first generation migrants were reunified with their families. It still exists in Europe among Turkish communities mainly as a result of spouse selection behaviour of second generation migrants. The importance of marriage migration is increasing, as “marriage” emerges, to a greater extent, as the motive for immigration and thus for obtaining the legal permit to stay in a country. Moreover, the integration of newcomer spouses is a severe policy issue. This paper focuses on the migrants from Turkey residing in Switzerland and aims at 1) exploring the magnitude of marriage migration from Turkey to Switzerland and 2) studying characteristics of second generation immigrants with respect to their choice of spouse. The incidence of marriage migration in Switzerland is investigated through descriptive analysis of the data from the last census. The analysis suggests the effect of various individual and family characteristics; like gender, education and household structure, on spouse selection of second generation migrants. The results support the perpetuation of marriage migration from Turkey to Switzerland, which is explained in the framework of network/chain migration theory by traditions and networks. The findings of this paper are compared with the ones of the previous researches conducted in Europe and have policy implications for Switzerland and Turkey.

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Presented in Session 4: Migrant Demographic Behaviour: Nuptiality