Difference between immigration and emigration

The immigration process is usually clouded by confusion due to the complexity of the method.  Therefore the legal vocabulary. Today we’ll guide you to differentiate between the two phrases, which are usually confused by many, immigration and emigration. In this guide, we will help you clarify the different meanings of both and when and where to use them daily.


When we mention an immigrant, we talk about someone who has moved from his country of origin and currently lives in another country. Often people who go through the immigration process do it to live in another country permanently. There are numerous reasons for immigration, however the most common reason is to find a better quality of life for themselves and their family. 

The best way to remember that immigration refers to an individual moving to a different country is the prefix “im,” which is analogous to “in.” An immigrant has moved to a replacement country from their home country.

What is illegal immigration?

Immigrants are generally allowed to remain within the country, are liberal to work and travel, and leave whenever they need. People that enter a region without a permit are referred to as illegal immigrants. They are not legally allowed to enter the county, and officials can deport them to their origin country anytime.


Emigration implies the fact of someone leaving a region. For instance, we could mention the person mentioned above and say that she emigrated from Mexico to live within the UK.

The prefix “en” means “out,” which makes this term way easier to understand.

Can anyone be an immigrant and an emigrant?

Yes, someone can often be both an immigrant and an emigrant, which is perhaps where much of the confusion begins.

John lived in Mexico but found employment within the UK, which offered him the chance to enhance his quality of life. So John emigrated from Mexico to the UK, where his status is of an immigrant. However, for many people, it’s not necessary to mix both terms.

The average person usually only uses the word immigrant. It’s probably a way to use the English language structure and, therefore, the indisputable fact that we tend to ask the present situation before about past situations. For example, suppose we discuss John’s friends. In that case, it can be a common norm to say John came (or emigrated) to the united kingdom to say that he left (emigrated) from his origin country, which points out the instances that happened before John’s immigration.

When working in fields like immigration law, it’s a part of everyday language to use these two terms, but only within the correct context and never as synonyms for every other.

So what is a migrant?

Sometimes you might even hear people using a completely different term “migrant” instead of immigrant or emigrant. When we talk about a migrant, we talk about someone who regularly moves rather than emigrating to a permanent place of residence. For example, vineyards and orchards often hire seasonal workers during the harvest season to help crops harvest quickly with minimal deterioration. These seasonal workers often migrate to vineyards and orchards only during the season to earn better pay. However, once the harvest is complete, many of these migrants will return to their home country.                    

The main difference between migrants is that they rarely intend to move permanently to another country.

When legally employed, migrants are granted a valid work visa for a set period, and this visa is granted based on the belief that the worker does not intend to seek permanent residence at that time. Immigrants can continue to extend their visas or seek permanent residence under certain circumstances. Still, it is essential to speak to an immigration attorney first to determine if you are eligible for a visa extension or status change. For queries to move to the UK, you can reach out to our great London lawyer team.

If you are eligible for a change of status, there is also a specific period during which you can do so; if you miss this period, you will have to start the process by leaving the country and entering again. Hopefully, this guide was helpful for you to understand the difference between these two terms. Go through the complete article to get a grip on the concept and never make a mistake using and understanding these terms again