Migration is traditionally categorised into migration for work or family. However, utilising interviews with both immigrant families and publically employed care managers, this study documents the existence of a hybrid type, involving migrant wives who arrive to care for substantially older husbands – an arrangement about which Danish care managers use the term ‘fetched wives’. Register data also document that the relatively infrequent remarriages among older immigrants primarily involve men finding much younger wives abroad. We term some such women ‘migrant carer-wives’. From a marriage market perspective, the demand for such marriages indicates that care needs of the men involved are not presently met. For various reasons, including linguistic and cultural ones, such men cannot or will not rely on either state-sponsored eldercare or aid from adult children. Instead, they (or their children) seek wives abroad. Women who are virtually ‘unmarriable’ locally due to unfortunate circumstances may accept such ‘carer-wife’ marriage proposals. While these marriages may provide such women with a livelihood, they also lead to not only isolated and strenuous lives with many care duties but also a precarious dependency on the adult children of husbands, who do not necessarily regard their fathers’ new wives as kin.
- Anika LiversageAbir M. Ismail
About this publication
Published inNordic Journal of Migration Research