Economic Refugee

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated November 4, 2020

What is an Economic Refugee?

An economic refugee is a person who moves to another country in search of a higher standard of living.

How Does an Economic Refugee Work?

Let's say John Doe lives in Cyprus. The country is undergoing tremendous economic upheaval: Nothing is affordable, there are few jobs and public programs are defunct. John's wife just had another baby, and he knows that they cannot support their children if they stay in the country. Accordingly, they pack up and move to England, where John is able to get a visa and a job as a computer programmer.

Unlike political refugees, most countries do not grant asylum to people fleeing countries because of bad economic conditions.

Why Does an Economic Refugee Matter?

Economic refugees are controversial in large numbers. They often arrive in their new countries with little money and depend on taxpayer-provided public services to get started. In some cases, they work in underground economies and are paid "under the table" because they can't get legal status to work in their new countries. This can create a tax-collection problem for the new home country. Economic refugees can also be educated and talented, and so their arrival in new countries is sometimes welcomed if the new country is in need of a particular skill set or talent.

Ask an Expert
All of our content is verified for accuracy by Paul Tracy and our team of certified financial experts. We pride ourselves on quality, research, and transparency, and we value your feedback. Below you'll find answers to some of the most common reader questions about Economic Refugee.
Be the first to ask a question

If you have a question about Economic Refugee, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades. Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 2 million monthly readers.

If you have a question about Economic Refugee, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question Read more from Paul

Read this next

Paul Tracy - profile
Ask an Expert about Economic Refugee

By submitting this form you agree with our Privacy Policy

Don't Know a Financial Term?
Search our library of 4,000+ terms