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Impact of legal status change on undocumented migrants’ health and well-being (Parchemins): protocol of a 4-year, prospective, mixed-methods study
  1. Yves Jackson1,
  2. Delphine S Courvoisier2,
  3. Aline Duvoisin3,
  4. Giovanni Ferro-Luzzi4,5,
  5. Patrick Bodenmann6,
  6. Pierre Chauvin7,8,
  7. Idris Guessous1,
  8. Hans Wolff9,
  9. Stéphane Cullati3,10,
  10. Claudine Burton-Jeangros3,10
  1. 1 Division of Primary Care Medicine, Geneva University Hospital and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  2. 2 Department of General Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospital and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  3. 3 Institute of sociological research, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  4. 4 Haute Ecole de Gestion, University of applied sciences of Western Switzerland, Carouge, Switzerland
  5. 5 Geneva School of Economics and Management, Universite de Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland
  6. 6 Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  7. 7 Department of Social Epidemiology, Inserm, UMRS 1136, Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health, Paris, France
  8. 8 UMRS 1136, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France
  9. 9 Division of Prison Health, Geneva University Hospital and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  10. 10 Swiss NCCR LIVES, Universite de Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yves Jackson; yves.jackson{at}


Introduction Migrants without residency permit, known as undocumented, tend to live in precarious conditions and be exposed to an accumulation of adverse determinants of health. Only scarce evidence exists on the social, economic and living conditions-related factors influencing their health status and well-being. No study has assessed the impact of legal status regularisation. The Parchemins study is the first prospective, mixed-methods study aiming at measuring the impact on health and well-being of a regularisation policy on undocumented migrants in Europe.

Methods and analysis The Parchemins study will compare self-rated health and satisfaction with life in a group of adult undocumented migrants who qualify for applying for a residency permit (intervention group) with a group of undocumented migrants who lack one or more eligibility criteria for regularisation (control group) in Geneva Canton, Switzerland. Asylum seekers are not included in this study. The total sample will include 400 participants. Data collection will consist of standardised questionnaires complemented by semidirected interviews in a subsample (n=38) of migrants qualifying for regularisation. The baseline data will be collected just before or during the regularisation, and participants will subsequently be followed up yearly for 3 years. The quantitative part will explore variables about health (ie, health status, occupational health, health-seeking behaviours, access to care, healthcare utilisation), well-being (measured by satisfaction with different dimensions of life), living conditions (ie, employment, accommodation, social support) and economic situation (income, expenditures). Several confounders including sociodemographic characteristics and migration history will be collected. The qualitative part will explore longitudinally the experience of change in legal status at individual and family levels.

Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Geneva, Switzerland. All participants provided informed consent. Results will be shared with undocumented migrants and disseminated in scientific journals and conferences. Fully anonymised data will be available to researchers.

  • undocumented migrant
  • migration
  • health
  • wellbeing
  • regularization
  • public health

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  • Contributors YJ conceived the study, is the coprincipal investigator, drafted the protocol and wrote the manuscript. CB-J conceived the study, is the coprincipal investigator, drafted the protocol and proof-read the manuscript. GF-L, AD, SC and DSC contributed to the study conception and protocol and proof-read the manuscript. PB, PC, IG and HW reviewed the protocol and proof-read the manuscript. All authors approved the version to be published and are responsible for its accuracy.

  • Funding The Parchemins study is supported by the Geneva University School of Medicine, Fondation Safra, Geneva Directorate of Health, Geneva Directorate of Social Affairs, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, the NCCR LIVES Project and the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research (grant 100017_182208).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Geneva Canton, Switzerland (CCER 2017–00897).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.