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Difference between migration, emigration and immigration

Immigration and emigration occur when a person or group moves from one country to another. the term immigration is used to name the entry of people into a country of which they are not nationals, with the intention of staying there to live. On the other hand, emigration means the movement of people leaving one country to live in another.

The migration it also involves movement through different places, including change between regions. This movement can be both humans and other living beings.

migration immigration emigration
definition Movement that a person, group or animal makes from a certain place to another. Entry of a person to a foreign country, to establish a new residence. The individual who immigrates is called an immigrant. Departure of the person from the country of origin to live in another. The individual who migrates is called an emigrant.
scope Country or region. country country
application It can be applied to people or animals. people people
time Permanent or temporary. permanent permanent
origin From Latin i migratewhich means to leave, to migrate. From Latin immigrantwhich means to pass to enter. From Latin emigratewhich means to migrate, to change residence.

Immigrate and emigrate are two views on the same movement. For example, if you were born in Mexico and went to live in the United States, that means you emigrated from Mexico and immigrated to the United States.

What is immigration?

Immigration is used when a person enters a foreign country to live there, leaving their country of origin. Immigration involves a permanent movement and applies only to people. For example:

My grandparents immigrated to the United States in the 1920s.

Although there are specific laws for immigration and emigration, immigration is strictly controlled by host nations.

What is emigration?

Emigration happens when a person or group leaves their country to settle in another. Emigrating involves a permanent movement and it only applies to people. For example:

My grandparents emigrated from Spain.

Emigration is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Everyone has the right to leave the country they are in, including their own, and the right to return to their country.

Article 13.2

Immigrate or migrate?

immigrate generally refers to the act of crossing national borders of different countries, for settle down in the host country. In the case of to migratethis act includes both movement between countries like between regions of the same country, travel to foreign lands is not necessary. For example:

Many people are migrating from the interior to the capital of their cities.

In this case, people are not moving to a foreign land, just migrating from one region to another.

Besides, migrations can be permanent or temporaryfor example:

  • Many people who lived on the outskirts of the city migrated to the capital in search of work (permanent movement).
  • Many workers migrate south during the agricultural season (temporary relocation).

When migrating is applied to animals, such as birds, it usually means a seasonal or temporary change in habitat. For example, when birds migrate south during the winter.

See also:

Ever Arrieta

Technical review by Ever Arrieta

Bachelor of Philosophy (2009) from the National University of Costa Rica; master’s degree in History, International Relations and Cooperation (2013), in Translation and Linguistic Services (2015) and in Multimedia (2017) from the University of Porto.

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