Causes and experiences of poverty among economic migrants in the UK

Publication type

Research Paper


Simon Pemberton, Jenny Phillimore and David Robinson

Publication date

Series Number



Poverty is an important driver of migration. Many people migrate to escape poverty. However, far less is known about the incidence and experiences of poverty once economic migrants arrive in the UK. This Working Paper explores such issues, developing a series of assertions and recommendations from the evidence base. The experience of poverty was found to vary according to the position of migrants in the labour market, coupled with their legal status and material and financial assets. Nevertheless, for as long as key sectors of the UK economy rely on a low paid, insecure, casualised workforce, economic migrants will encounter poverty. Current discussions around ‘managing migration’ therefore need to consider more fully the potential poverty impacts on both migrant workers and UK nationals, particularly in terms of levels and costs of service provision and accessibility, employer competitiveness and community relations.


Migration, Economics and Poverty