Difference Between Migrants and Immigrants

The term ‘immigrant’ is a subsidiary of the word ‘migrant’. When they are spoken casually, we reciprocate their meanings but there is a slight contrast between them which is to be distinguished.

Migrants vs Immigrants

The main difference between Migrants and Immigrants is that Migrants are the people who vacate their abode country(birthplace), migrate within/without their competence to accomplish their ventures such as to slog as a seasonal worker, acquisition of property or other primitive conditions in the origin country.

Whereas immigrants vacate their abode country and come to settle permanently in a foreign region, for example, if a person moves to the United States and settle permanently (in this type of cases they even acquire citizenship ) then we would refer him as an immigrant rather than a migrant.

Migrants vs Immigrants

Immigrants are provided with supplementary protection rights, then the migrants within a state or country.


Comparison Table Between Migrants and Immigrants (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonMigrantsImmigrants
DefinitionMigrants are the people who migrate to another region externally or internally for a temporary stay in search of better resources and benefits.Immigrants are the people who enter into another foreign country leaving his or her country permanently due to unfavourable situations in the origin country.
Pull Factors in the destination countryThese are the following pull factors:
a) Economic prosperity
b) Social cohesion
c) More recreational centres
d) Availability of affordable housing
e) Favourable climatic conditions
f) Better medical and healthcare facilities
g) Better chances of marrying
h) Prospects for higher education
These are the following pull factors:
a) Political freedom
b) cultural freedom
c) Sense of security
d) The desire for religious freedom
e) Pollution-free environment
f) Substantial income prospects.
g) Access to adequate services such as police, better means of transport which include buses, trains, metros railways, airports.
Push Factors in the origin countryThese are the following push factors:
a) Economic hardship
b) Social clashes due to different perspectives
c) Lack of entertainment centres or recreational centres
d) Poor housing
e) Primitive climatic conditions
f) Primitive medical and healthcare facilities
g) Poor chances of marrying
h) Lack of higher education facilities
These are the following push factors:
a) Political insecurity
b) No cultural freedom
c) Prohibition of religious practices and freedom
d) Polluted environment
e) No prospects for income
f) Lack of essential services such as means of transport which includes buses, trains, metros railway stations.
Accompanied byPrimitive migration and free migrationIllegal migration and forced migration


Who are Migrants?

Migrants are the people who relocate into another foreign or non-native region externally or internally for temporary or permanent (only in exceptional cases) stay in search for better resources, services and security.

Though there is no precise or an international standard definition for the word migrant it was suggested by Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. OHCHR is a United Nations agency that works to promote and protect the human rights for all under the international law of Human Rights.

The people who migrate for a momentary period which includes tourism purposes such as educational tour, business trip or even temporary scientific research in a particular region are not generally considered as a migrant.

Origin of the word

Late 18th century: from Latin immigrant- ‘immigrating’, from the verb immigrare, on the pattern of emigrant.

Migrants who have fled from the origin country by force or illegal migration are included under the category of refugee or immigrant who doesn’t have any personal belongings and wealth with them. It can also happen through human trafficking.

Migrants can make the conscious and voluntary choice of movement, unlike a refugee.


Who are Immigrants?

Immigrants are the people who enter into another foreign country leaving his own country. They settle down permanently due to various security, business or marital reasons, therefore it has a rather precise definition even at the international level.

Immigrants need to get a lawful permanent resident status along with family-based sponsorship with the diversity lottery or other eligibility criteria if they want to acquire permanent citizenship in the immigrated country.

Some researchers claim that by breaking immigration barriers, we get a boost of the economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as there will be a skill as well as unskilled workers to sustain and support the growth of the economy for the immigrated country.


Main Differences Between Migrants and Immigrants

  1. Migrants have optional choice to settle down in a particular region permanently (only in exceptional cases) as well as temporary whereas immigrants always intend to settle permanently.
  2. According to some researchers, the people who are referred as migrants suffer from a sense of insecurity and trauma by the native community because they’re considered as outsiders, unlike immigrants who create a sense of social ties with the general public.
  3. A migrant is free to prefer voluntary migration whereas, under immigration, immigrants are in most of the cases bound to migrate due to war or strife or insecurity to human rights in the home country.
Difference Between Migrants and Immigrants



It is customary that people vacate their birthplace to seek a better job, health care, higher education or an escape from disaster/war-affected region.

People might set about as migrants in search of indispensable resources or any temporary workers and then become susceptible to human trafficking.

These situations can alter them from migrants to refugees in the immigrated country.

Thus, from all these, we can conclude that the basic variation between ‘Migrant’ and ‘Immigrant’ depends fundamentally upon the nature of settlement of the settlers.

In most of the cases, immigrants have helped the destination country by giving its manpower, which ultimately boosted the GDP growth.

On the other hand, migrants hold a temporary status which is not considered under the brain drain section or a loss of labour from the emigrated country.

Migrants may remain in the home country or migrate to a foreign region (back and forth between countries temporarily based on circular migrant such as a seasonal worker) and can become permanent with the time.

Key Differences Between Migrants and Immigrants (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Migrants and Immigrants



  1. https://www.medigraphic.com/pdfs/salpubmex/sal-2006/sal061b.pdf
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1982-23461-001
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