Accepted Paper:

Family reunification immigration in Canada: love, intimacy and mobility strategies in North-South transnational marriages  

Author:

Karine Geoffrion (Université Laval)

Paper short abstract:

In the current context of (cumbersome) immigration procedures in Canada, this paper draws on the conjugal trajectories of Canadian women married to non-Canadian men focusing on their experience of the family reunification process and on their transnational intimacy strategies.

Paper long abstract:

In the current context of (cumbersome) family reunification immigration procedures in Canada and ever increasing delays in the processing of "foreign" spouses' files, this paper explores the strategies Canadian women married to non-Canadian men have developed in order to "make it" through the Canadian family reunification process despite the tactics exerted by the state to deter such unions. It draws on the conjugal trajectories of thirty Canadian women who are or have been in an intimate relationship with a non-Canadian man living in a "non-western" country, focusing on their experience of the family reunification process. Eight months of participant observation in two online communities of Canadian women married to or sponsoring the immigration of a non-Canadian man further enrich the discussion.

I argue that the immigration of their spouse to Canada becomes, for the women, a personal and emotionally loaded project to be achieved by all means. First, I explore some of the strategies the women develop in order to see their partner "in the flesh" as often as possible, becoming experts on visa applications and on ways of bypassing international mobility restrictions. Second, I discuss how online women support networks facilitate the immigration process itself by providing concrete immigration tips, emotional guidance and an emotional outlet. Finally, I contend that the period of time where partners live apart due to the duration of immigration procedures also fosters a different type of (transnational) intimacy supported by communication technologies.

Panel P064
Mobility, precarity, and the activation of kinship and intimacy [ANTHROMOB]