Difference Between Immigration and Emigration

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Immigration and Emigration

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Immigration and emigration refer to the movement of people into and out of a country, respectively. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between them that are important to know when reading or writing about this topic. Read on to learn more about immigration and emigration, what they entail, and how they're different from each other.

While emigration has more to do with leaving a country, immigration usually involves entering a new country. This can take place both within countries as well as across national borders. The term immigration is generally used to describe people coming from outside of a country into its national boundaries, while emigration describes people leaving one nation for another. Let’s explore how immigration differs from emigration in some key ways. The difference between immigration and emigration lies in their connotations. If you are an immigrant, you are likely perceived positively by those around you; if you are an emigrant, however, you may be seen negatively. Some people consider immigrants to be hard-working individuals who bring positive things to society (e.g., new cultural influences), while others see them as foreigners who steal jobs or threaten their way of life through their differences.

In contrast, emigrants may be perceived as individuals who were forced out of their home country due to war or other disasters or those seeking better opportunities abroad. For example, when a large number of Irish people immigrated to America during Ireland’s Great Potato Famine, they were often viewed negatively because they took low-paying jobs that Americans could have had. However, today there is no stigma attached to being an Irish American. The same applies to Mexicans living in America today: most Americans don't mind that so many Mexican nationals have immigrated here over time because it has helped our economy grow tremendously. People also tend to view emigrants more favorably than immigrants because they often think about how difficult it must be for someone to leave everything behind—their family and friends—to start anew somewhere else.

Immigration vs Emigration

The Reason for Moving. There are two reasons that people move from one country to another: immigration and emigration. Both terms involve moving, but there is a difference between these two words that makes it important to know which term you should use. When looking at these two words, it helps to understand why people immigrate or emigrate from their home countries to better understand why there is a difference between immigration and emigration. Simply put, if a person moved across international borders for any reason other than seeking asylum or refugee status he or she is an immigrant. If a person moved across international borders because of fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group then he or she is an emigrant. In many cases, both immigrants and emigrants leave their home countries with hopes of improving their lives economically.

However, those who do so because they face persecution in their home country are not considered economic migrants. Instead, they are considered refugees fleeing war zones or areas affected by environmental disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes where living conditions have become unlivable. Refugees may also be fleeing famine caused by drought or crop failure which can lead to food shortages that make survival impossible without outside help. While most refugees seek safety in neighboring countries, some end up settling far away from their original homes. For example, thousands of Vietnamese boat people fled Vietnam during the 1970s when communist forces took over South Vietnam. Many of them traveled thousands of miles by boat to reach safe harbor in places like Hong Kong and Thailand before being resettled elsewhere around the world including America. It’s important to note that while many immigrants arrive legally through formal channels others enter illegally hoping to avoid government scrutiny or deportation back to their home countries. For example, undocumented workers often cross into foreign lands either by land through remote border crossings near Mexico or Canada or by sea via small boats operated by human traffickers who charge exorbitant fees for passage into foreign lands.

Difference Between Immigration and Emigration in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Immigration Emigration
Define The action or process of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. The act of departing permanently from one country to settle in another
Stunt to recall Immigration is in relocation, somebody who has moved to another country. Emigration is out-relocation, somebody who has moved out of a country.
Benefits An Immigrant could add more abilities to the nation’s labor force and assist with working on the economy of the country. The individual who emigrates sends back settlements which assist with working on the equilibrium of installments of his nation of beginning.
Factors Individuals from emerging nations become settlers in a created country to partake in a superior norm of living.  People from non-industrial nations emigrate to created nations looking for a superior way of life.

What is Immigration?

It is natural for humans to want to move from their home country. Many countries are not able to support their population, so people often leave in search of work and a better life. In other cases, political strife may force people out of their homes. Immigrants may also be fleeing a disaster such as an earthquake or flood. It is estimated that there are about 232 million immigrants worldwide, representing about 3% of the total world population. The UN estimates that by 2050 more than half of all people living in developed countries will be either foreign-born or have at least one foreign-born parent -- a complete flip from today’s numbers where less than 15% have one foreign-born parent or none at all. Most immigration occurs between developing countries with smaller percentages moving between richer nations. Mexico is currently ranked first with over 11 million citizens living outside its borders, followed by Russia (10 million), India (9 million), China (7 million), and Ukraine (6.5 million). These figures are only those who live outside their home country legally; it does not include those who emigrated illegally or who reside in nations without any official immigration records. It should also be noted that many of these individuals do not consider themselves immigrants but rather ex-pats. Expatriates typically live abroad temporarily while maintaining ties to their homeland, whereas immigrants usually sever ties with their native land forever.

Some facts about Immigration

People come to a new country for various reasons. They may want to live in a different culture, improve their quality of life or seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. When immigrants move to a new country, they become citizens of that nation after a specific length of time (usually five years). People who are born in a nation but choose to move elsewhere are known as emigrants. Most countries don't track emigrants in any official way, so numbers can be hard to pin down. The United Nations estimated that 235 million people left their home countries in 2012 – more than twice as many as 20 years earlier. Most migrants don't have citizenship in any country at all; these people are called stateless refugees. In some cases, countries actively encourage immigration by giving foreign workers special visas or offering tax breaks to foreign companies that set up offices within their borders. Other nations attempt to discourage immigration by imposing strict rules on residency and work permits. Some nations even go so far as to build walls along their borders to keep outsiders out. For example, Hungary built a fence along its border with Serbia in 2015 in an attempt to prevent migrants from entering illegally. Many European Union members opposed Hungary's decision because it threatened free movement between member states; however, Hungary claimed it had no other choice due to heavy migration from Syria and other war-torn regions of Europe.

What is Emigration?

The process of leaving one’s country to live permanently in another. Some will leave for political or social reasons, such as fleeing war or famine, while others may seek better economic opportunities abroad. Those who move from one country to another for work are said to be immigrants, but those who return home are known as emigrants. There is no universal definition of emigration, but it generally refers to movement out of a country due to personal rather than political reasons. Emigrants may even return home later in life after they have achieved some level of success or wealth in their new home country. For example, many Chinese Americans returned to China during its opening-up period following Mao Zedong’s death. They were welcomed back by local officials eager to learn how western business practices had changed since they left China decades earlier. Today, there are many more Chinese people living outside of China than within it—making them an example of both immigration and emigration at once. Most countries see large numbers of citizens moving overseas each year—often temporarily—to study or work.

Some facts about Emigration

As of 2012, there were more than 206 million international migrants worldwide, according to estimates by the United Nations. Almost half of these, or about 101 million people, lived in Europe. The biggest factor behind emigration is economic disparity between countries. Some argue that emigration can also serve as a safety valve for countries suffering from overpopulation. Another reason why a country may experience high levels of emigration is war or persecution. In 2017, nearly 65 million people were forcibly displaced by conflict in their home countries—that’s 1 out of every 113 people on Earth. Many of those refugees have fled to neighboring countries or other regions within their own Conti. More than 5 million refugees have fled Syria since 2011, with most settling in Turkey (3.5 million) and Lebanon (1.5 million). One-fifth of all refugees are children under 18 years old. According to UNICEF, the number of unaccompanied and separated children seeking asylum in industrialized nations has increased dramatically since 2010. About 1 out of every 200 children who live outside refugee camps are unaccompanied minors who traveled alone without an adult guardian or family member to accompany them during migration; many become victims of human trafficking along the way.

Main Difference Between Immigration and Emigration in Points

  • The most basic difference between immigration and emigration is that immigrants come to live in a new country, while emigrants leave their country of birth or nationality to settle in another one.
  • In simple words: Immigrants are people who move from one nation-state to another. Immigration. Also known as departure. See also immigration visa, visa, and work permit.
  • In our daily life we are familiar with both immigration and emigration activities but most people cannot distinguish these two activities which look like each other. Just like these two words contain some similar letters (e & m) there are some similarities between them such as their goals, reasons for leaving, etc.
  • The main difference is that while immigrants move to a new country voluntarily, emigrants do so involuntarily.
  • Another major difference is that while immigrants get visas and permits before moving to a new country, emigrants do not need any documents because they move without any intention of returning home.
  • Toto understands more about these two terms let us have a look at what exactly makes them different from each other. The first thing that comes into mind when we think about immigration is migration across international borders where an individual goes out of his/her own free will to settle down in another place.
  • On the contrary, when someone thinks about emigration he/she thinks about moving away from his/her native land without any intention of returning home ever again.
  • While immigration means relocating for good, emigration implies leaving your country forever.
  • Another difference between these two words is that while immigrants relocate with all their belongings and family members along with them, emigrants leave everything behind including their family members to start a new life in a foreign country.
  • Also while immigrants get permission or visas before they move abroad; emigrants do not need any kind of documents because they leave their country on an emergency basis.
  • Some people consider emigrant as an offensive word but it is used commonly by many writers and journalists around the world.


Whether you’re looking to immigrate, emigrate, or simply see what your options are, it’s important to know exactly what they are. That way, you can make better decisions in terms of where you want to live and how you want to get there. You don't need an immigration law firm to help you understand some of these basics. With a little bit of research on your own (and some assistance from experts when needed), it is possible for anyone to come up with a great plan for their future that takes into account all available options—no matter where they're at right now!



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"Difference Between Immigration and Emigration." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 01 Mar. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-immigration-and-emigration-436>.

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