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'IELTS brides’: The business of marriage in Punjab

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Indian state of Punjab is struggling to curb the growing problem of sham marriages that are often used to secure visas to countries like Australia and New Zealand.

Foreign dreams are sold in Punjab in the name of fake marriages that are often termed as ‘contract marriages’.

There is a growing concern of sham marriage advertisements that appear regularly in the media outlets in Punjab.

The advertisements target ‘would be brides’ who score good grades in International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) exam and have dreams to travel to foreign shores.

Known as ‘IELTS brides’ – the young women are used to get student and partner visas to countries like Australia and New Zealand.

The fake set-up or marriage arrangement helps young women from poor families travel to foreign countries with all the expenses being paid by their in-laws.

In return, the fake groom gets a partner visa that eventually turns out to be a pathway of residency.

Now there are concerns of brides suffering from domestic violence on this new ‘business’ of illegal immigration.

There is also a trend of cases of domestic violence being reported if foreign dreams fail to take off after marriage.

SBS Punjabi’s Preetinder Grewal has more in this audio report…

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