The specificities of the workforce with a migrant background are often neglected in studies of retirement. Similarly, many studies of migration’s impact on pensions often focus on aggregate outcomes – system sustainability or distributive characteristics. The present paper provides a fresh look at the nexus between these two literatures. It discusses the impact of the European social security coordination mechanisms on individual decision‐making and on the functioning of social security systems – with a focus on retirement. The paper argues that such effects are non‐negligible and are likely to have major policy consequences.