24-year rule

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The 24-year rule is a rule in Danish immigration law meant to cut down forced marriages and family reunification immigration.[1][2]

The rule has four requirements

  1. Age – Non-resident spouses can be united and thus cohabit with their spouse living in Denmark only when both parties have reached the age of 24 years.
  2. Ties – The couple’s aggregate ties to Denmark must be stronger than those to the country of origin. However, the demands of aggregate ties are not applicable to people born in Denmark or people who acquired Danish citizenship as young children and have lived in Denmark for more than 28 years.
  3. Economy – The Danish spouse must prove to be able to financially support the new couple (there is a minimum income requirement of twice the welfare benefit rate), post a DKK 62,231 guaranty (the sum is adjusted for inflation annually), and not have received welfare benefits for a year and not owe money to the authorities.
  4. Residence – The couple must show that they own or rent a residence of at most two people per room and at least 20 m² (217 ft²) per person.

The rule draws criticism from human rights organizations.[3]

The rule has also been criticized by anti-immigration activists, saying it is not fulfilling its purpose. Instead of cutting down on forced marriages, girls are now being forced by their parents to move either back to their homeland or other European countries where EU rather than local immigration rules apply for Danes and their spouse. The rule also affects many ethnic Danes and their spouses, forcing couples to live in third countries apart from their families and support networks.[4]

The rule is supported by all major political parties except Enhedslisten.[5]

Some Danish politicians have advocated increasing it to 28 years of age.[6][7]

Also advocated by the Progress Party in neighbouring country Norway, centre-right parties agreed to implement the rule there in 2014.[8][9]

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