Rahila Gupta isn’t convinced that the government’s latest proposals to combat forced marriages are that good. For example, she says, the plan to raise the age of spouses allowed in on a marriage visa – from 18 to 21 is a bad idea. She cites Denmark as an example. But as this paper shows, when Denmark raised the age from 18 to 24 for allowing in spouses on a marriage visa, there was a positive impact.
The problem of course is that evidence can be presented both ways. But I’d be willing to bet that for every Asian family who is willing to let the young Pakistani girl who their son has married stay there until she reaches the required age – there are more who find the whole process too much of a hassle. Maybe what the govt should have done is raised the limit to 24, and then seen what the impact would have been (like Denmark). Its not terribly liberal, I know. But then neither is forcing your kids into an early marriage.
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