Economic Refugee

DEFINITION of 'Economic Refugee'

A person who leaves their home country for a new country, in search of better job prospects and higher living standards. Economic refugees see little opportunity in their own countries to escape poverty and are willing to start over in a new country, for the chance at a better life. An example of an economic refugee would be a computer programmer who makes next to nothing in his or her home country and emigrates, in order to collect a substantially higher wage.

BREAKING DOWN 'Economic Refugee'

Traditionally, a refugee is someone who is granted asylum in a foreign country because of life-threatening political or religious prosecution, in his or her home country. Since most countries have border controls and restrict who may enter, work and reside there, a person cannot simply move to the country of his or her choice, but must either be granted permission by the government or try to enter and live in the country, without adversely coming into contact with the law.