The population of children newly arrived from abroad is highly heterogeneous; their health-care needs reflect this heterogeneity, requiring broad and flexible responses from paediatricians and their colleagues. This review will explore the factors leading to children arriving in the UK as new migrants, including pull and push migration. Specific health issues as they relate to migrant children in general are discussed. These are: immunisation and child surveillance, the screening and treatment of infections and infectious diseases, child protection and accident prevention. The review also considers the risks facing certain vulnerable groups of children who make up a part of the larger migrant community, describes their needs and explores how these needs might be met. These groups are: the children of asylum seekers and refugees, trafficked or smuggled children, children with disabilities, Roma children from Eastern Europe and internationally adopted children.