Difference Between Immigration and Emigration

The terms “Immigration” and “Emigration” are often confused because they have a very similar meaning. However, there is a slight difference between the two terms and knowing the difference could help you improve your writing.

Immigration vs Emigration

The difference between immigration and emigration is that Immigration is the process of moving out of your own country and permanently settling in another country. Emigration is the act of leaving your own country.

Immigration vs Emigration

For example, an Indian man decides to emigrate to Canada. To himself, and the country of India, the man is an emigrant to Canada.

To his new Canadian people, he is an immigrant from India. So he has been an emigrant, in coming to Canada, and now he is an Indian immigrant.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonImmigrationEmigration
MeaningImmigration is the act of coming to another country.Emigration is the act of leaving your own country.
Trick to rememberImmigration is in-migration, someone who has migrated to another country.Emigration is out-migration, someone who has migrated out of a country.
AdvantagesAn Immigrant could add more skills to the countries workforce and help improve the economy of the country.The person who emigrates sends back remittances which help improve the balance of payments of his country of origin.
FactorsPeople from developing countries become immigrants in a developed country to enjoy a better standard of living.People from developing countries emigrate to developed countries in search of a better lifestyle.
ExampleA person leaving Pakistan to settle in Australia is an immigrant to Australia.A person leaving Pakistan to settle in Australia is an emigrant to Pakistan.


What is Immigration?

Immigration occurs due to political, social, economic or religious reasons. Immigration is the act of leaving your home soil to permanently settle in a different country.

A person who indulges in the act of immigration is known as an immigrant.

Immigration has its origins from the word “immigrare” which is defined as “to go in to”.

Immigration is a very sensitive issue around the world. Most of the developed countries like the United States have very strict immigration laws to control the permanent movement of people in their country.

Various pull factors attract people to immigrate. In other words, they are the main reasons behind a person moving from one place to another.

For example, better working opportunity or higher pay is one of the most common pull factors

According to many studies, immigrants to developed countries are more educated than the average person in their country of origin. Therefore, they have a greater chance of getting good working opportunities abroad.

For example, many accountants from Pakistan immigrate to the Middle East due to better working opportunities, higher pay and overall better standards of living.


What is Emigration?

Emigration is the act of leaving your country of origin. A person who indulges in the act emigration is known as an emigrant.

Emigration has its origins from the word “emigrare” which is defined as “to move”.

Emigration could have both a positive and negative impact on the country. When a person leaves a country it brings down consumer spending as well as the labor force.

If the labor force is over-saturated, it will ease unemployment and will have a positive impact on the country of origin.

In case the situation is different emigration could deprive the country of its skilled labor force. This is mostly the case in most of the developing countries around the world, where the skilled labor force emigrates to developed economies due to better career opportunities and higher pay.

However, the skilled labor force could still benefit their country of origin by sending remittances. In simple words, they send money back to their families who are still living in their homeland.

This helps their country of origin in improving its balance of payments.


Main Differences Between Immigration and Emigration

Both immigration and emigration mean the movement of a person to a different country permanently. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two to use them effectively in your writing.

These are the main differences between immigration and emigration:  

  1. Immigration means permanently moving to another country whereas emigration means leaving your own country.
  2. Immigration origins from the Latin word “immigrare” whereas emigration originate from the Latin word “emigrare”.
  3. Immigrare means “to go into to” whereas emigrare means “to move”.
  4. There are laws in place for both immigration and emigration, but immigration is strictly controlled by the host nation whereas countries are more lenient about their emigration policies.
  5. Immigration could improve the workforce of the host nation whereas emigration deprives the country of origin of its skilled labor force.
  6.  Immigration is caused by the availability of better living conditions, better job opportunities and higher wages whereas emigration are caused by the occurrence of deficiencies and calamities.  
  7. Immigration leads to an increase in the local population of the host country whereas emigration leads to a decrease in the local population of the country of origin.
  8. Immigration could benefit the host country by an increase in the skilled labor force and its positive fiscal impacts whereas emigration could benefit the country of origin in the form of remittances.
Difference Between Immigration and Emigration


  1. https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/58914/1/700589856.pdf
  2. https://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/abs/10.1596/1813-9450-5556
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