Legal Non-Recognition of Foreign Registered Same-Sex Relationships for Immigration Purposes: A Social Policy That Harms the Couple, the Workplace and the City

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Yiu-tung SUEN, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Social and legal recognition of same-sex relationships has been growing rapidly. However, globally such development has been highly uneven. This paper qualitatively analyzes the experiences of six same-sex couples who have migrated from US, UK, the Netherlands and Australia where their relationship is legally recognized to Hong Kong where foreign registered same-sex relationships are not legally recognized for immigration purposes. Inductive thematic analysis of the in-depth interviews explores their experiences before and after migration and highlights the material and mental consequences of the social policy for the couple, the workplace, and the city. The findings bear both theoretical and policy implications. Theoretically, this paper intersects migration, sexuality and globalization, and expands the currently heated discussion on same-sex couples’ rights into a cross-national context. In terms of policy and legal implications, this paper calls for the social policy of non-recognition for immigration purposes of same-sex relationships, which harms all stakeholders involved, to be changed.