Difference between Migrant and Immigrant | Migrant vs Immigrant

Most of us have heard the word ‘migrant’ but aren’t quite sure what that means. Many times people get confused between the words ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’. So how are both these terms different from each other? When can you refer to someone as ‘immigrant’ or a ‘migrant’? To help you out with these questions, this article will discuss everything that one needs to know about the words ‘migrant’ or ‘immigrant’.

The English Language might seem easy, but there are many words that have kept students as well as other people confused throughout the ages. ‘Migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ are one such pair of words. In most cases, people/students think these words have the same meaning and use them interchangeably. As a result, often, they end up using these types of words incorrectly. The following points mentioned below will describe how one can differentiate between these two easily confused terms. So let’s go through them.

Table Summarising the Difference between Migrant and Immigrant




The word migrant refers to those who move to other places in search of work or better living conditions.

The word immigrant refers to those who have moved to foreign countries permanently for work or living.


It is used as a Noun.

It is used as a Noun.


The migrant workers lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

There are many illegal immigrants who live in different countries.

The table above shows that the words ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ are neither synonymous nor can be used interchangeably. Students who previously got confused between these terms can now see the difference between them. The following points discussed below will help students have a clearer understanding of the words ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ so that they can be used correctly.

The Difference between Migrant and Immigrant – Meaning

If you want a simple difference between the word ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’, then the former refers to those who leave their home town in search of improved job opportunities or living conditions for a short period of time. ‘Migrants’ generally return to their home country/town whenever they feel like it. Whereas the latter refers to someone who permanently moved to a foreign country either to live or to work. ‘Immigrants’ can either stay in a foreign country legally or illegally. Once the students grasp this point of difference, it will be easy for them to use these words in a correct manner. The following examples will help students understand the terms a bit clearer.

Example of Migrant and Immigrant

The following examples will ensure students understand the terms ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’.

Migrant – Raj travelled all the way from Jaipur to Pune to work as a migrant labourer in the mines. (noun)

Immigrant – Mr Kapoor has been living in the United States of America for 35 years. He first moved to the country as an immigrant. (noun)

Migrant and Immigrant – Conclusion

The words ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ have entirely different meanings and can’t be used synonymously or interchangeably. When students are using these words, they have to understand the context’s meaning before applying them. The BYJU’S website also offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that people often get confused with and end up using incorrectly.

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