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Al Jazeera – World: Marriage for Sale


March 03 2021

Marriages of convenience, or sham weddings, are an illegal way of obtaining residency and citizenship in Europe countries and elsewhere.

This film meets men and women who marry – or plan to marry – people they hardly know, with the sole objective of obtaining European residency for one of them. These deals can sometimes cost one of the “partners” as much as 15,000 euros ($18,100) with no guarantee of citizenship in return.

A so-called “white marriage” is where both parties willingly participate in fraud but stay together. But in what are called “grey marriages”, the whole venture is a charade in which one party not only plays the system but also deceives the other, often with shattering consequences.

Despite the risks, some see sham marriages as a less dangerous form of migration than crossing the sea in a rubber dingy.

In this film, we meet six characters who have either been involved in a “grey marriage” already – and suffered the shock and humiliation of being deceived – or who are planning to use marriage as a means to a better future.

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