Difference between Migrant and Immigrant | Migrant vs Immigrant

Most of us have heard the word ‘migrant’ but aren’t quite sure what it means. Many a 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’ and when can you refer to them as 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 it contains many pairs of words that have kept students as well as other people confused about their appropriate usage in the language. ‘Migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ is one such pair of words. In most cases, people think that these words have the same meanings and can be used interchangeably. As a result, often, they end up using these types of words incorrectly. The points mentioned below will describe how one can differentiate between these two easily confused terms. Let’s go through them.

Table Summarising the Difference between Migrant and Immigrant

Migrant Immigrant
Meaning The word migrant refers to someone who moves 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 for better living conditions.
Usage It can be used both as a Noun and an Adjective. It is used as a Noun.
Example The migrant workers lost their jobs due to the pandemic. There are many illegal immigrants who live in different countries across the world.

The table above shows that the words ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ are not synonymous and cannot be used interchangeably. Students who were previously confused by these terms can now see the difference between them. The points discussed below will help students have a clearer understanding of the words ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ so that they can use these words correctly in sentences of their own.

The Difference between Migrant and Immigrant – Meanings

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 returning back to their hometown, 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.

Also, when ‘migrant’ is used as an adjective, it is used a property or characteristic of someone or some creature who keeps moving from one place to the other for some purpose.

Once students grasp this points of difference, it will be easier for them to use these words in correct contexts. The following examples will help students understand the terms in a better and comprehensible way.

Examples of Migrant and Immigrant

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

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

The migrant workers went on strike to draw the attention of the mayor on their poor living conditions. (adjective)

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 contextual meanings and situations before applying them. The BYJU’S website also offers various articles on many such ‘Difference Between’ articles that people can use to learn the English language in a better way.


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