Studies on cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence and survival show varying results between different ethnic groups. Our aim was to add a new dimension by exploring the role of migrant status in combination with ethnic background on incidence of—and survival from—CVD and more specifically acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke. We conducted a historically prospective cohort study comprising all newly-arrived migrants to Denmark between 1.1.1993 and 31.12.2010 (n = 114,331), matched 1:6 to Danish-born by age and sex. CVD incidence was retrieved from the National Patient Registry and differences in incidence were assessed by Poisson regression and stratified by sex. Survival differences were assessed by Cox regression using all-cause and cause-specific mortality as outcome. Male refugees had significantly lower incidence of CVD (RR = 0.89; 95 % CI 0.85–0.93) and stroke (IRR = 0.62; 95 % CI 0.56–0.69) compared to Danish-born, but significantly higher incidence of AMI (IRR = 1.12; 95 % CI 1.02–1.24). Female refugees had similar rates of CVD and AMI, but significantly lower incidence of stroke (RR = 0.76; 95 % CI 0.67–0.85). Both male and female family-reunified immigrants had significantly lower incidence of CVD, AMI and stroke. All-cause and cause-specific survival after CVD, AMI and stroke was similar or significantly better for migrants compared to Danish-born, regardless of type of migrant (refugee vs. family-reunified) or country of origin. Refugees are disadvantaged in terms of some types of cardiovascular disease compared to Danish-born. Family-reunified migrants on the other hand had lower rates of CVD. All migrants had better survival than Danish-born indicating that migrants may not always be disadvantaged in health.