Do you truly love your partner genuinely and unconditionally? A critical discourse analysis of the Australian Partner Migration Booklet

Author: Kieu Nga Nguyen

Nguyen, Kieu Nga , 2016 Do you truly love your partner genuinely and unconditionally? A critical discourse analysis of the Australian Partner Migration Booklet, Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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As a nation of immigrants, Australia is well known for its migration regulations regarding the four main visa streams incorporating more than 120 different visa subclasses; all guided by principles of humanity, equity and compassion. Partner visas form a part of Australia’s Family Migration stream and allow ‘noncitizens to enter and remain in Australia on the basis of their spouse or de facto relationship (both opposite and same-sex) with an Australian citizen or permanent resident’. There is an increasing trend of Australians sponsoring overseas partners for the purpose of marriage. This trend amounts to nearly 80% of the Family Migration stream. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection produced the Partner Migration Booklet, which is a part of a series of Booklets that assists people to apply for visas to Australia. Employing Bacchi’s six-question discourse analysis method, this thesis aims to analyse and critique the ways in which cross-border couples are assessed through the requirements in the Partner Migration Booklet and the six additional Factsheets referred to in the Booklet. The thesis will identify marriage of convenience as the problem represented in the Booklet. An analysis of the presuppositions or assumptions underlying the representations of the ‘problem’ of sham marriage will be subsequently provided. From these assumptions, I will actually be able to highlight the way that the representations of sham marriage have come about. Then, I will explore the issues and perspectives on the genuineness of cross-border relationships that are “silenced” in the Booklet. The next step of data analysis includes a discussion about the effects of the representations of the sham marriage problem on cross-border couples. The five steps of analysis above will help me demonstrate the uniform immigration standard with many conditions for genuine relationships that all cross-border couples must meet. Therefore, the ability of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to determine and clarify fake and genuine marriages will be questioned. Finally, recommendations are provided for marriage migration policy, practice and further studies.

Keywords: marriage migration; Australia; discourse analysis; cross-boarder couples

Subject: Social Work thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2016
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Dr George Karpetis