This review paper focuses on low-income migrants in (or from) developing countries and their social reproduction, and asks what this means for their social protection. We focus on the recognition that migration involves (re)negotiations of social reproduction by migrants and their families. These renegotiations are heavily inflected with gendered power relations in ways that are specific to individual and family life course. As such, migration involves taking on new risks and dynamic vulnerabilities in sustaining everyday and intergenerational social reproduction. These are sharpened by the increasing feminisation of migration flows and obstructed by wider changes in social provisioning and exclusionary citizenship regimes. The resulting social protection challenges unfold over lifetimes, and are especially marked at critical periods of transition. Life-course thinking has the potential to theoretically integrate emerging insights from rich empirical studies; doing this supports the rationale for revaluing the importance of social reproduction within debates about migration and social protection.