Marriage migration between Mainland China and Hong Kong : challenges and needs of single cross-border families

Tuen Yi Jenny CHIU (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Despite the growing literature on cross-border marriages, the experiences of single marriage migrants have rarely been put under the spotlight. While marriage migrants generally experience legal precarity due to the prolonged process of legal transition under the restrictive immigration policies, single marriage migrants are further disadvantaged as their rights to immigrate into the host society are forfeited when their marriage with a local citizen is dissolved. This irregular state of legal nonexistence has not only marginalized the single marriage migrants but also jeopardized the wellbeing of their children. Drawing on interview data with 25 single marriage migrant mothers from Mainland China, this paper illuminates how the Hong Kong government governs cross-border marriage migration and regulates the dissolution of crossborder marriages and allocation of legal rights to single marriage migrants through a “marrytocracy-based” immigration system. It first elucidates how widowed, divorced, and separated migrant mothers experienced different degrees of legal precarity given the hidden yet hierarchical framework of legitimacy underpinning the immigration system. It then shows how the negative effects of their legal precarity might spill over to their children. By presenting how non-governmental organizations assisted single migrant mothers to claim residency and social rights through the discretion of the authority, the social services challenges that the non-governmental organizations faced will be discussed.


SymposiumInternational Symposium on Social Policy and Social Services Challenges in the Greater Bay Area
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