Economic migrant

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An economic migrant is someone who emigrates from one region to another to seek an improvement in living standards because the living conditions or job opportunities in the migrant's own region are not sufficient.[1][2] The United Nations uses the term migrant worker.[3] The term economic migrant is often confused with the term refugee, but economic migrants leave their country due to bad economic conditions, not due to fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group.[4] Economic migrants are free to apply for asylum and thus refugee status in the country they migrated to. However they will not be given refugee status, unless the economic situation in their home country has led to generalised violence or seriously disturbed public order.


People who intend to work in another country can obtain authorization to do so; some migrants may enter under false pretences, such as tourism, or cross the border illegally (illegal immigrant). People who work legally in another country are often described as immigrants or expatriates.

Many countries have restrictions that prohibit people from entering the country to work unless they have been granted a visa which permits this. Persons who are believed to be trying to enter a country to obtain employment may be refused entry. Illegal immigrants and people who seek paid employment after entering the country without authorization to work may be subject to deportation.[5]

The World Bank estimates that remittances totaled US$420 billion in 2009, of which $317 billion went to developing countries.[6]

Advantages and disadvantages[edit]

With economic migration on a large scale, the majority of migrants are often working age people. This places a strain on the country that the migrants leave; as working age people exit the country, the elderly population remains - thus straining the economy. However, the advantage to this country could be a release of pressure on the current job market and resources. Looking at the nation that the migrants enter, the inflow of migrants is a source of cheap labour. In some cases, the immigrants in the country are skilled and looking for specialized jobs. The inflow of migrants could also bring about cultural diversity.[7]

Labor market[edit]

Over the past ten years, migrants accounted for 47% of the increase in the work force in the United States and for over 70% of the increase in Europe, as reported by the OECD in 2012. Migrants fill important niches in the labor market, and contribute significantly to labor market flexibility, especially in Europe. Recent studies from the OECD report that immigrants are playing a crucial role in the labor market: In the U.S. immigrants made up 22% of entries in the fast growing occupations and 15% in Europe (healthcare, STEM, etc.). Immigrants are also highly represented in the slowest growing occupations, making up approximately 28% of new entries in the U.S. and 24% in Europe. In the United States, these occupations are primarily in production and other industries that domestic workers would consider unattractive; in the absence of demand for these occupations, immigrant workers fill these sectors. In regard to [gross domestic product], the OECD finds that in OECD countries, the inflow of migrants has not greatly disrupted GDP: accounting for less than 0.5% change in GDP in negative or positive terms. Exceptions to this are Switzerland and Luxembourg, which have approximated a 2% net benefit in GDP due to migrants.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "economic migrant - definition and synonyms". Macmillan Dictionary. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary". Oxford Dictionaries. p. economic migrant. Archived from the original on 2015-09-14.
  3. ^ "United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families". United Nations. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  4. ^ "settlement services international". Settlement services international. 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Types of migration: Economic Migration, BBC
  6. ^ Remittance Prices Worldwide
  7. ^ "Effects of Migration". BBC. 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  8. ^ "Migration Policy Debates" (PDF). Migration. OECD. 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2015.