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BMC Public Health





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Highly educated immigrants are part of the growing population of immigrants who are impacted by the increasingly hostile migration policies in the U.S. This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach and inductive reasoning to explore the possible impacts of migration integration policies as social determinants of health among this group. Data was collected through 31 semi-structured interviewees with highly educated immigrants who had an intention and interest to stay in the U.S. at the time of the interview. Data were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis and four main themes emerged: (1) a life overshadowed by silent worries, (2) living through uncertainties and forced decisions as the result of migration integration policies, (3) complexities and challenges of living on a work visa, and (4) shared recommendations by interviewees. Documented narratives as part of this study suggest high rates of stress and anxiety as well as negative mental and physical health outcomes among the participants. Results also suggest high levels of internalized vulnerabilities. Participants shared that migration policies can be enhanced in the U.S. to support highly educated immigrants’ growth by creating a better and more transparent communication system, replacing random review processes for applications with systematic procedures, creating expedited pathways to citizenship based on merit, and granting access to work as a basic human right.


Author Posting © BMC, 2023. This article is posted here by permission of BMC for personal use and redistribution. This article was published open access in BMC Public Health, VOL.23, (July 14, 2023),

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