This paper details a theoretical framework to explain the impediments to migration. The paper argues that actual migration as a household livelihood strategy is impeded by the constraints imposed by the households’ access to the institutions and the assets needed for migration within the welfare pentagon(s) of the household. The Welfare Pentagon embodies the five central institutions that households could use to assuage needs in a given society (family, markets, social networks, membership institutions and public authorities). Using data from Albania and Moldova, we then test the model predictions empirically. Utilizing a probit model for the decision to not migrate at the household level, we find strong support for the Welfare Pentagon framework. We find that having access to different parts of the Welfare Pentagon makes a difference for migration. We find that particularly the family, market and social network variables play a considerable role in the possibility for migration.