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The Transfer of Pre-departure Integration Requirements for Family Migrants Among Member States of the European Union

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Over the last decade, six EU member states have introduced pre-departure integration requirements for family migrants. The Netherlands was the first to introduce such ‘civic integration abroad’ policies. Its example has been followed by Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, and the UK. While it is well established in the literature that the European Union has played a crucial role in the proliferation of these and similar mandatory integration policies, the question why and how these policies have spread through Europe has not been subjected to analytical scrutiny. This paper shows that while the EU has functioned as a platform for the exchange of ideas, EU institutions such as the Commission have strived to obstruct this process. The only actors promoting the transfer of pre-departure integration measures were national governments. For these governments, representing such measures as a ‘common practice’ among member states was a strategy to build legitimacy for restrictive reform.


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Correspondence to Saskia Bonjour.

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  • pre-departure integration requirements
  • civic integration policy
  • policy transfer
  • Europeanization
  • family migration policy