Difference Between Immigration and Migration (with Table)

When people move around in the world, they are often categorized as migration or immigration, which is co-dependent but is distinguished on various levels. Immigration is an inbound process of migration, whereas migration refers to the relocation of any species from one place to another. These differences further draw the line between these two terms and make it a choice for people, derive rights and responsibilities whenever and wherever a person is traveling, and enjoy the livelihood there.

Immigration vs Migration

The difference between immigration and migration is that immigration is a permanent movement from one country to another as an individual or a family under proper formalities from the embassy, whereas migration usually refers to the temporary movement from one place to another within or beyond the country borders due to temporary change in livelihood or environment.

Immigration can be simply served a hot issue, especially in the developed countries such as the US, UK, and France, where permanent movement is a big step that too can be influenced by political issues and demand of rights. Different countries offer different rights and facilities to people who aren’t native, which makes them take the decision to permanently move to a country as an immigrant.

Migration is the term they use for people or birds that don’t focus only on a single person or family but on a large group of people or a larger demographic of the same species or kind altogether. Migration has anthropological interests, so it will be affected by certain changes, such as wars and backlashes between nations. Slums are the biggest example of migration in the urban areas where people come from the rural areas in search of jobs.

Comparison Table Between Immigration and Migration

Parameters of Comparison Immigration Migration 
Definition An individual or a family moving to a different country with due formalities from the embassy as a permanent movement. It is a temporary movement from one place to another, within and beyond country borders.  
Relocation relativity Immigration is an inbound movement of the process of migration. Migration is the relocation of any species from one place to another indistinctively. 
Political contextImmigration is a hot political issue in developed countries like the US, UK, and France. Migration mostly surrounds the concept of anthropological interest. 
OccurrenceImmigration occurs due to escape poverty, marrying a foreigner, or finding a job, etc. People migrate to escape war or political pressure, any environmental causes, etc. 
ExamplesRelocating permanently from Mexico to the United States. Geese and birds flying the south for the winter. 

What is Immigration?

Immigration is the permanent process of moving from one place to another for an individual or family, or any group. People who immigrate leave their country of origin and move to another country beyond the borders for various reasons like marriage to foreigners, new jobs, or opportunities.

Immigration takes place legally where one enters another country with granted permission to permanently resettle from the embassy of both countries, which further qualifies them to work without restriction. There are various reasons for one or a family to want to resettle in a different country. The most common ones are longing for economic prosperity or better education and a job that will lead to the fulfillment of a dream or even reuniting with a distant family and support them. Usually, it revolves around personal reasons.

Immigration law for immigrants revolves around many policies like national statutes, regulations, and other legal precedents that govern the immigration process into the new country with deportation from their native country. Such official documents ensure to protect the rights and facilities of the immigrants when they move into the new country.

What is Migration?

Migration is a broad term but a temporary movement from one place to another where an individual is willing to leave home for various reasons, as if in search of employment. People who undergo the process of migration are known as migrants. Migration can happen in and beyond the native country’s borders but mostly due to temporary issues.

Since migration is a broad term, it tends to cover both the concept of immigration as well as emigration. As per detailed studies and stats, it is referred that migration is often induced through a lack of resources that need to be adjusted from somewhere else or even through the struggle for jobs and a better livelihood. This place includes both people who move from one place to another within the borders of their native country, which is also referred to as internal migration, and people who move from their origin country to another country, known as external migration.

In addition, migrants sometimes include refugees, but in terms of vice versa, it is not acceptable. War and environmental issues are the common reasons why people migrate, but it is not only limited to humans. Birds migrate to the south in various parts of the world in the winter for a change of season.

Main Differences Between Immigration and Migration

  1. People who are immigrating tend to always begin the journey as a migrant, whereas people who are a migrant don’t necessarily finish their journey as an immigrant.
  2. Migration usually means a temporary movement, whereas immigration mostly means a permanent residency or movement.
  3. Migration is distinctive to take place within or beyond the native country borders, whereas immigration occurs when an individual or his/her family crosses the border of their native country to become a permanent resident of some other country.
  4. Immigration can occur among an individual or a family due to reasons like marriage to a foreigner, escape poverty and look for new jobs, etc. Migration takes place for temporary issues like environmental changes or disasters, war, or even sudden loss of jobs.
  5. There are a lot of immigrants from Punjab to Canada and UK for various reasons. Slums are the best example of migration from rural to urban areas in search of jobs.


There are a lot of factors that distinctively affect the terms Immigration and Migration as it involves a large number of people with global issues and facilities. We need to understand both the terms to help ourselves to know better how we can serve the people who are either a migrant or an immigrant. But just knowing the facts is never the full story. It is important to make sure that these people enjoy all the facilities and rights as any native citizens of the country and do not fall within global living standards. They need constant tenderness and kindness from us, and understanding the difference between migration and immigration will enable us to treat them right.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10911350902910914
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1944-8287.1997.tb00069.x
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