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Sweden will not amend 'wife import' rules

Sweden will not amend 'wife import' rules

Published: 09 Mar 2013 15:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Mar 2013 15:35 GMT+01:00

Equality Minister Maria Arnholm wants Sweden to keep the right to deport women whose relationships with Swedish spouses end within two years of their arrival in Sweden.

The two-year rule was introduced in an effort to clamp down on sham marriages and to put an end to so-called "wife imports".

But it has been blamed for forcing women to remain in abusive relationships, with a 2012 government-ordered inquiry recommending the rule be abolished.

According to Eva Eriksson, who carried out that inquiry on behalf of the former equality minister, Nyamko Sabuni, thousands of newly arrived women seek help every year after being assaulted by their Swedish spouses.

Eriksson, who is the governor of Värmland in west Sweden, claimed that the two-year rule locks women and their children into abusive relationships.

But Arnholm, who replaced Sabuni as equality minister in January 2013, has defended the rule.

"I think it serves its purpose," Arnholm told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

"It makes it simple and possible for people who fall in love to quickly be able to be together and to live in the same country. I know that many people appreciate [the rule]. Removing it would have sad consequences."

Arnholm did concede that there are some problems with the two-year rule.

"It should not be a protective shell or a pretext for battered women to stay with their men. We have to, at all costs, avoid the feeling that one gets thrown out of Sweden if one leaves an abusive man. But that does not lead me to conclude that the two-year rule should be abolished."

As part of the 2012 inquiry, Eriksson spoke to social services, police, hospitals and women's refuges.

She concluded that the extent of abuse suffered by women who came to Sweden to marry a Swedish man was widespread.

The report was welcomed by The National Organization for Women's Shelters and Young Women's Shelters in Sweden (Roks).

The Centre Party's Women's Association has also demanded that the two-year rule be scrapped, with its president, Gunilla Hjelm, urging Arnholm to take "immediate action" against "the practice of wife importation".

She said it "puts thousands of women in vulnerable positions".

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Your comments about this article

20:10 March 9, 2013 by RationalLogicial
I think the rule is a good tradeoff between rights of women and misuse of law. Abused can go for law and on the other end if this rule is scrapped, I believe the import rule will be WIDELY abused.
09:43 March 10, 2013 by Khazara
The exploitation of non-white women will continue. Ugly white men need love too I guess?
22:03 March 10, 2013 by swisslad
This article is terrible, it paints men as violent while all scientific evidence shows that women and men are equally violent. If Sweden become the country of feminism and misandry, I understand why swedish men prefer wives from other countries
09:53 March 12, 2013 by SimonDMontfort
"that does not lead me to conclude that the two-year rule should be abolished."

A wise decision to keep the rule in place - Sweden is not the only EU country trying to deal with the problem of 'sham marriages'. At the same time, its not as though there is no support, anywhere, for victims of abuse.
18:32 March 23, 2013 by sszorin
What is wrong with swedish women that swedish men have to look for their mates outside of Sweden ?
20:56 July 16, 2013 by lensart
Pretty much anyone marrying a Swede will be abused, man or woman. Women are used by Swedish men as sex objects, men are used by Sweden women as sperm donors and garnered incomes by way of child support.
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