Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Sociology

Supervisor

Dr. Teresa Abada

Abstract

After migration, most immigrants do not dissociate themselves from their relational networks in their homeland. Instead, they nourish, reproduce, and maintain ties with their non-migrant relatives and friends by engaging in various forms of transnational activities. Within the transnational paradigm, remittances are central to maintaining transnational relationships. Immigrants’ demonstration of affection and solidarity in the absence of physical propinquity and intimacy is highly contingent on their remittance transfers. Over the years, the motives, determinants, benefits, and consequences of these financial flows on the well-being of recipients in origin communities have been extensively studied. However, the existing literature is mainly informed by economic imperatives, leaving us with limited understanding of the social dimensions of immigrants’ remittance decisions. More so, there is a dearth of studies that explore how immigrants’ remittance practices affect their lived experiences in destination countries. Considering these research gaps, I employ different statistical techniques (Two-level mixed-effects logistic regression, Pooled OLS regression, and logistic and multinomial regression with lagged dependent variable(s)) to explore the economic and social dimensions of immigrants’ remittance behaviour and the impact of these transfers on their well-being in Canada. The analyses are based on data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC, 2001, 2003, 2005).

The study background, research objectives, and questions are outlined in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2, I scope the literature and provide an extensive background on the entire migration process—including the motives, decisions, and opportunities for migration and integration in destination societies, as well as the transnational connections immigrants maintain after migration. In Chapter 3, I move beyond the economically functionalist remittance theories to explore the social dimensions of immigrants’ remittance behaviour through the lens of gender and social networks. The primary objective is to determine how the remittance practices of male and female immigrants are uniquely informed by a) their intentions to help their non-migrant relatives and friends relocate to Canada and b) their involvement in ethnic/immigrant associations and religious organizations. The findings suggest that immigrants’ social networks in destination and origin societies engender and reproduce gendered remittance practices. In light of my findings, I recommend the incorporation of network effects and gender into the existing remittance models to broaden our understanding of immigrants’ remittance practices. In Chapter 4, I make a theoretical and empirical contribution to the sociology of health literature by examining how immigrants’ remittance behaviour affects their emotional health, and the extent to which this relationship varies by gender. The findings demonstrate that sending remittances within the first six months of arrival predisposes immigrants to emotional health problems. However, remitting after six months of arrival provides an “emotional advantage” for immigrants, but this advantage is greater for female immigrants compared with their male counterparts. In Chapter 5, I examine the extent to which immigrants’ remittance behaviour stifles their initiatives to fulfill their educational aspirations after migration. The findings suggest that remittance sending—despite its symbolic and moral connotations—can stifle immigrants’ pursuit of post-migration education. Findings from Chapters 4 and 5 reveal that immigrants’ well-being in destination societies cannot be fully understood apart from their transnational engagements. Hence, I call for the incorporation of transnational theory into the frameworks guiding research on the well-being of immigrants, and, in doing so, I argue that it is essential to consider the role of gender since it circumscribes every aspect of the migration process.

Available for download on Monday, December 31, 2018


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