What it is:
An economic refugee is a person who moves to another country in search of a higher standard of living.
How it works/Example:
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
Unlike political refugees, most countries do not asylum to people fleeing countries because of bad economic conditions.
Why it matters:
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.