This study draws on long-term in-depth research with seasonally migrant manual wage workers in eastern India to examine the welfare/illfare1 outcomes of that migration. We examine various aspects of illfare/welfare and we do so not only from the viewpoint of migrant workers, but also from that of their employers. Welfare is broadly defined here to include the subjective experience of migration, in particular for migrant workers. We explore the degree to which migrants’ sense of themselves as a social group, their collective identity, is enhanced by migration.2 At the same time, we illustrate ways in which such identities are deployed instrumentally to make the experience of migration, and its accompanying meaning to the migrant, less degrading.