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跨国婚姻:外籍配偶入籍难

更新时间:2019/10/21 11:44:26 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The newlyweds with no country to call home
跨国婚姻:外籍配偶入籍难

When I left Britain to start a job in Singapore, all I took with me was a rucksack. I didn’t expect to be away for all that long; just enough time to pay off some debts and get the necessary experience to open a few doors for me back home.

当我离开英国,前往新加坡工作时,只用一个背包就装下了所有行李。我没想到自己会离开那么久;我当时只想去那里赚点钱还债,攒够经验后,再回家自己做点自己的事情。

But then, as tends to happen, I met someone.

但后来,就像小说里一样,我遇到了一个人。

Now, I’m married and have a nine-year-old, a house and a car, but home is not London. It’s Kuala Lumpur, and my family is Malaysian.

如今,我已经结婚,有一个9岁的孩子,还有房有车。但我的家不在伦敦,而在吉隆坡,我的家人是马来西亚人。

As more young people travel to study and work, and the Internet brings together individuals who might never have met in the pre-web world, so the number of marriages between people of different nationalities is rising, creating a policy challenge for governments worried about migration and leaving newlyweds to negotiate frequently restrictive — and often opaque — processes that will allow them to live and work in the same country and perhaps lead to citizenship.

随着越来越多的年轻人选择到外地工作和学习,随着互联网将许多原本不可能见面的人聚到一起,跨国婚姻也变得越来越普遍,给那些担心移民问题的政府带来了政策上的挑战,导致新婚夫妇不得不频繁地应对严格的——而且往往不透明的——签证申请流程,才能与配偶居住并生活在同一个国家,甚至最终加入对方的国籍。

Based on data from 30 countries in 2010, Eurostat estimated one in 12 marriages in Europe were between people of different nationalities. In Switzerland, it was about one in five, compared with about one in 11 in the UK and hardly any at all in Romania. In Australia, nearly one in three marriages in 2014 was mixed. In Singapore, where the number of marriages in 2014 was the highest since 1997, transnational marriages accounted for 37% of those unions up from 23% in 2003. And the US Census Bureau revealed that in 2011, in 21% of married households in America, at least one of the spouses was born outside the US.

根据2010年对30个国家进行的统计,欧盟统计局估计欧洲每12对夫妇中就有1对拥有不同国籍。瑞典的这一比例达到1/5,英国约为1/11,罗马尼亚几乎没有。澳大利亚2014年的这一比例接近1/3。而在新加坡,2014年的跨国婚姻数量创下1997年以来的最高水平,从2003年的23%增加到37%。美国人口普查局披露的数据显示,该国有21%的已婚家庭至少有一方配偶在国外出生。

Difficult road travelled

艰难道路

Kirsten Han, a Singaporean journalist, met her husband, Calum Stuart, when she was studying for a postgraduate degree in the UK. They got married near his hometown in Scotland in 2014. Neither family nor friends imagined the bureaucracy they would encounter simply trying to live together.

新加坡记者克里斯滕·韩(Kristen Han)在英国读博士后时认识了她的丈夫卡鲁姆·斯图尔特(Calum Stuart)。他们2014年在斯图尔特苏格兰的家乡附近结婚。无论是他们还是他们的朋友都没有想到,光是为了住在一起,这对夫妇就要克服冗长的官僚制度。

“There’s so much that’s taken for granted,” Han said on the phone from Singapore where they are currently living. “Everyone said, ‘Just get married and everything will be solved’. It came as a bit of a shock when we realised that was not the case.”

“有很多想当然的事情。”克里斯滕·韩在新加坡接受电话采访时说,那里也是他们目前的居住地,“大家都说,‘只要结了婚,一切问题都会迎刃而解。’当你意识到情况并非如此时,的确感到有些震惊。”

It was the British government’s new incomes rules — introduced in 2012 with the aim of weeding out what officials said were “sham” marriages — that made it impossible for the couple to settle in the UK. The regulations require the British citizen, who has to act as a sponsor for their non-EU spouse, to have an income of £18,600 ($26,700) a year, or savings of £60,000 ($86,000) more if they have children. The rule has been blamed for creating a swathe of families who can be together only on Skype and sending some citizens into exile.

英国政府出台的新规——这项2012年颁布的规定意在打击官方所谓的“假结婚”——导致这对夫妇无法在英国定居。监管部门要求英国公民(此人要充当其非欧洲配偶的赞助人)年收入必须达到1.86万英镑(2.67万美元);如果有孩子,还要增加6万英镑(8.6万美元)的存款要求。很多人抱怨这项规定导致原本应该团聚的家庭只能通过Skype见面,并迫使一些英国公民移居海外。

Han and Stuart decided to go to Singapore, where spouses are usually issued a one-year visit pass that allows them to work, because they felt it gave them a chance to be together, but even that hasn’t proved as straightforward as the couple had hoped.

克里斯滕·韩和斯图尔特决定来到新加坡,那里通常会为配偶签发有效期为一年的探亲签证。他们认为这样便可住在一起,但即便是这样的政策也不像他们想象的那么简单。

“It wears you down,” Han said. “Why do I have to try so hard to have my husband live with me in my country?”

“这消磨了我们的意志。”克里斯滕·韩说,“我为什么要费那么大力气才能让我的丈夫跟我一起居住在自己的国家?”

Changing tides

改变潮流

Despite economic policies that encourage the globalisation that make transnational marriages inevitable, young couples like Han and Stuart, and people who’ve been married for years, have become unexpected victims of hardening attitudes towards migration.

以鼓励全球化为目标的经济政策使得跨国婚姻变成了不可避免的潮流,但很多国家却收紧了移民政策,导致像韩和斯图尔特这样的年轻夫妇,以及已婚多年的夫妻都受到了连累。

“There has been increasing stress on ‘managed migration’ by governments to try to maximise economic benefits from migration, and control types of migration not seen as so beneficial,” Katharine Charsley, an academic at the University of Bristol, said by email. Spouses who migrate are selected as a matter of the heart, “rather than selected for their skills to fill shortage occupations by the state”.

“政府的‘控制性移民’政策面临的压力越来越大,这项政策的初衷是通过移民获得尽可能多的经济利益,但却发现,控制移民类型并没有带来太大好处。”布里斯托大学的学者凯瑟琳·卡斯利(Katharine Charsley)通过电子邮件说。配偶移民时考虑的是爱情,“而不是其具备的技能是否符合某个国家的短缺职业。”

In Europe, the Netherlands has introduced an “integration abroad exam” to test Dutch language skills and cultural knowledge, as does the UK, and Denmark has a “combined attachment” rule under which couples must prove their attachment to Denmark is greater than their attachment to the foreign spouse’s country, determined partly on the time spent living in each and expertise in Danish.

在欧洲,荷兰推出了“外国人融合性考试”(integration abroad exam),以测试申请人的语言技能和文化知识。英国同样如此。丹麦则设计了一套“合并依附”(combined attachment)规定,要求夫妻必须证明他们对丹麦的依附感强于对外籍配偶祖国的依附感,这在一定程度上取决于他们在这两个国家居住的时间,以及在丹麦掌握的专业技能。

In the US, where migration is a hot-button election issue, newlywed couples have to provide a multitude of documentation to show their marriage is genuine in order to secure a temporary green card that is valid for two years, after which they can apply for permanent residence.

在美国移民问题已经成为大选的热门话题,新婚夫妇需要提供大量文件证明自己不是“假结婚”,才能获得有效期为2年的临时绿卡,在此之后才能申请永久居民身份。

The bait and switch

签证诱惑

In other countries, it can seem at first like it’s easy to stay, but being able to do so permanently and legally, as the foreign spouse of a citizen, can end up taking years.

其他国家起初看起来似乎很容易留下,但要以该国公民的外籍配偶的身份真正变成合法的永久居民,却需要花费数年时间。

Like Singapore, Malaysia offers a one-year pass. After five years, the spouse can apply for settlement, known as permanent residence, which allows doctors and other professionals to practice and enables people to apply for loans, open a business and buy any sort of home, but there is no guidance on when it might be granted. Since 2008, they’ve been allowed to work, but that requires an additional endorsement from immigration and a job offer.

与新加坡相同,马来西亚也提供一年签证。5年之后,配偶可以申请永久居民。获得这样的身份后,医生和其他专业人士便可执业,普通人也可以申请贷款、创办企业,并购买任何住房。然而,究竟何时能够获得这一身份却无规可循。自2008年以来,他们已经可以在该国工作,但需要一份额外的移民认可和工作邀请。

Bina Ramanand, who arrived in Malaysia from India to live with her husband in 1992, was first able to stay because she got a job in Kuala Lumpur that entitled her to an expatriate pass. She got the spouse pass when it was introduced a few years later, but it wasn’t until 2007 she was deemed eligible to apply for settlement. The stress, she said, almost drove her back to India.

比纳·拉玛南德(Bina Ramanand)1992年从印度搬到马来西亚,与丈夫同住。她最初之所以能在这里居住,是因为在吉隆坡找到了一份工作,从而获得了工作签证。当马来西亚几年后推出配偶签证后,她也顺利拿到这种签证,但直到2007年才获准申请居民身份。她表示,这一过程中承受的巨大压力差点让她返回印度。

“I’d given up on permanent residence,” said Ramanand, who heads the Foreign Spouses Support Group to help non-Malaysian spouses, and was finally granted permanent residence in 2013. “I thought I’d only get it when I was dead.”

“我差点放弃永久居民身份,”拉玛南德说,她向当地的外籍配偶支持小组(Foreign Spouses Support Group)寻求帮助,并在2013年获得了永久居民身份。“我原以为我到死都拿不到这个身份。”

In the name of love

以爱情的名义

Robert Pedrin, 37, arrived in Malaysia in 2012 and knows the stress well. The computer-networking graduate was determined to meet Carrie, 41, a recruitment consultant in Penang and the woman who had captured his heart on Facebook.

37岁的罗伯特·裴德林(Robert Pedrin)2012年来到马来西亚,他同样感受到了这份压力。这位计算机网络专业的毕业生来到这里是为了与槟城招聘顾问卡利(Carrie)见面,这位41岁的女士在Facebook上深深地吸引了他。

Since the US had rejected her application for a visa to attend his graduation in San Diego, he decided he would fly to Malaysia instead and ended up staying. In April 2014, six years after they first connected online, they married.

卡利原本要去圣迭戈参加裴德林的毕业典礼,但却遭到美国拒签。于是,裴德林决定飞到马来西亚,并留在这里。2014年4月,在通过网络相识了6年后,他们终于步入婚姻殿堂。

“I knew she was the one,” Pedrin said. “There are 7 billion people on this planet and my soul mate was 8,800 miles away.”

“我知道她就是我的另一半。”裴德林说,“全世界有70亿人,而我的灵魂伴侣在8,800英里之外。”

Now on his second long-term visit pass, he hasn’t been able to find work because many employers don’t understand that spouses can work legally and are reluctant to hire them. Opening a bank account, buying a car and other things Pedrin “took for granted in the US” are difficult. He has taken to blogging about his experiences, but he doesn’t regret anything.

如今,他已经是第二次拿到长期签证了,但依然无法找到工作,因为很多雇主并不知道外籍配偶可以在马来西亚合法工作,因此不愿聘用他们。开设银行账户、购买汽车,以及从事其他“在美国理所当然的事情”都会遇到困难。他在博客上讲述了自己的遭遇,但他并没有因此后悔。

“If I was able to transport myself back to 2012, knowing what I know now, I would do it all again,” he said. Other couples should be familiar with the rules in the country where they want to settle, make sure they have all the proper documentation, and persevere. “There is nothing that can get in the way of true love.”

“如果我能重新回到2012年,即使明知道后来的遭遇,我也会做出同样的选择。”他说。其他夫妻也应该熟悉他们希望定居的国家出台的相关规定,以便准备好所有的文件,并坚持下去。“没有什么能阻挡真爱。”

Open to the right ‘talent’

向合适的“人才”开放

Despite all the bureaucracy surrounding foreign spouses, many countries are extremely welcoming to what they call “foreign talent” or “highly-skilled” people. The “brightest and the best” as British Home Secretary Theresa May put it in a 2010 speech announcing more restrictive migration policies.

尽管对外籍配偶施加了如此多的限制,但很多国家仍然很欢迎他们所谓的“外国人才”或“高技能人才”。英国内政大臣特蕾莎·梅(Theresa May)在2010年宣布实施更严格的移民政策时,将这类人称作“最聪明和最优秀的”人才。

Malaysia is also becoming more open to talent. In 2011, the government introduced a 10-year residence pass giving those who met the qualifications — that is, people who had already been working in the country for three years as an expat and were earning more than 12,000 Malaysian ringgit ($3,070) a month — the opportunity to work for whomever they wanted (it also allows their spouses to work). Foreign spouses are among the 4,000 people, including me, issued passes since launch.

马来西亚也对人才更为开放。2011年,该国政府推出了10年居住签证,允许符合条件的人——包括已经在该国工作3年时间,而且月收入超过1.2万林吉特(3,070美元)的外籍人士——从事任何工作(也允许他们的配偶工作)。自那之后,共有4,000人获得这种签证,其中也有包括我自己在内的一些外籍配偶。

The foreign spouses of highly-qualified Malaysians returning from years overseas under a special brain-gain programme are also given PR within six months. About a fifth of the 3,700 people who’ve returned so far have non-Malaysian partners.

在海外生活多年的高技能马来西亚人如果通过人才吸引项目回国,他们的外籍配偶也将在6个月内成为永久居民。迄今为止,约有3,700人通过该项目返回马来西亚,其中约五分之一的人有外籍配偶。

“As we’ve seen in many countries, immigration policies are managed according to economic conditions,” said Johan Mahmood Merican, who co-ordinates the programmes as CEO of government agency TalentCorp and is married to a Singaporean. “Where there are skills we will definitely facilitate. Spouses will always be given an advantage. The government does recognise the status of a foreigner married to a Malaysian.”

“很多国家都会根据经济情况制定移民政策。”负责协调这些项目的约翰·马哈茂德·梅里坎(Johan Mahmood Merican)说,他是政府部门Talent Corp的首席执行官,他本人的配偶则是新加坡人。“我们肯定会为拥有技能的人提供便利,他们的配偶也能获得优待。政府已经意识到马来西亚人的外籍配偶面临的现状。”

Transparency, please

加强透明度

Malaysia is perhaps unusual in the lack of transparency about the process of settlement. Many other countries, even those requiring copious amounts of documentation and imposing language tests and cultural quizzes, explain the process and the length of time it’s likely to take.

在移民程序上缺乏透明度上面,马来西亚或许是个异类。其他很多国家都会对移民流程以及可能花费的时间作出解释,就连那些要求提交大量文件,并参加语言和文化考试的国家也不例外。

Even though Talent Corp’s Johan said spouses are welcome, the uncertainty surrounding their immigration status leaves many wondering whether the place they call home is really home at all.

尽管Talent Corp的约翰表示,马来西亚很欢迎外籍配偶,但与其移民身份有关的各种不确定性却导致很多人开始思考:他们称之为“家”的那个地方真的是家吗?

“It’s the people who lose out,” said Ramanand. “The Malaysian spouse, the Malaysian children; it’s the Malaysian family that is disadvantaged.”

“吃亏的是人,”拉玛南德说,“这对马来西亚配偶、马来西亚儿童、马来西亚家庭都很不利。”

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