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Heterogeneity in Migrant Health Selection: The Role of Immigrant Visas


This study proposes that visa status is an important construct that is central to understanding how health selection occurs among immigrants. We used the 2017 baseline survey data of the Health of Philippine Emigrants Study (n = 1,632) to compare the health of nonmigrants remaining in the Philippines and migrants surveyed prior to migration to the United States. Furthermore, we compared migrant health by visa type: limited family reunification, unlimited family reunification, fiancé(e)/marriage, and employment. Migrants reported fewer health conditions than nonmigrants overall. However, health varied among migrants by visa type. Migrants with fiancé(e)/marriage visas were the healthiest, reporting significantly fewer health conditions than the other groups. Limited family reunification migrants reported more health conditions than nonmigrants and unlimited family reunification migrants. We discuss how the immigration visa process reflects broader forms of social and political stratification that cause heterogeneity in immigrant health selection.

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