Can anyone tell me what is the difference between Migrant and Immigrant . This is a hot topic of today news. I hear and read those terms almost interchangeably. Searching in google and it give me the result that both meanings are same. Then where should I use immigrant and where should I use migrant?

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    Any half-way good dictionary or search engine should have told you that "migrants" includes both "emigrants" and "immigrants" and that "emigrants" go from here to there while "immigrants" come from there to here. – Robbie Goodwin Nov 19 '18 at 21:09
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    Unless these have become 'fake words', I think each retains the same meaning on both sides of the Atlantic - no need for the AmE tag. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Nov 19 '18 at 23:04
  • Related. – Robusto Nov 20 '18 at 1:54
  • @KJO Thanks to sharing your story. Actually this words are very confusing and I think don't have good definition. – Encipher Nov 20 '18 at 21:12

The main difference between "migrants" and "immigrants" is that "immigrants" is a tighter description than "migrants" since it refers specifically to people who enter a country on a more or less permanent basis having left another country where they were resident. Of course "immigrants" had first to be "emigrants" since "emigrant" means one who leaves a country where they are resident on a more or less permanent basis. The difference between an "emigrant" and a "migrant" is the point of view of the person using the term. In the nineteenth century many Irish people left on "emigrant ships" and arrived in the US as "immigrants". The people were on the same journey, it was only the perspective which changed their classification.

To be "migrants", on the other hand, people do not need to move from one country to another or to move on a permanent basis. A good example of internal migrants were the Scottish Herring Lasses who used to move up and down the British east coast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Shetland to Yarmouth via many ports in between following the activity of the herring fleets during the herring fishing season.

These girls were British citizens who followed this way of life for a number of years, travelled only within the Uk, still regarded their town of birth as home and usually returned there when the herring were out of season.

All "immigrants" and "emigrants" are "migrants" but not all "migrants" are either "immigrants" or "emigrants". As I said above "immigrant" is a specific form of "migrant". You could also say that "immigrants" are a subset of "migrants".

  • I think "migrant" implies recent activity, while "immigrant" indicates whether someone has ever moved. So one could be a non-migrant immigrant. – Acccumulation Nov 19 '18 at 23:29
  • @Accumulation Your first sentence captures a hint of the nuance. Your second sentence however does not follow at all. One might be a non- migrating immigrant in the sense that they've finished all the moving about. But an immigrant is a kind of migrant. – Mitch Nov 20 '18 at 0:02

In terms of American English, "migrant" has also been associated with temporary or seasonal agricultural workers. Perhaps first widely used in the 1930s when native-born Americans fled the Dust Bowl states of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas for western states like California, "migrant" has more recently been identified with Mexican workers (as well as those U.S. citizens with Mexican and other Hispanic ancestry) who follow seasonal crop harvests around the (mostly western) United States. Notice that with both of these meanings a "migrant" doesn't have to be from another country.

  • There is nothing about immigrant... – Encipher Nov 20 '18 at 19:03

An immigrant is specifically coming in/into a country, usually as perceived by the inhabitants. Migrants, on the other hand, are just generally migrating from place to place. For example, some birds migrate to warmer areas in the winter...

  • can you give a example for immigrant? Both are coming to the country right? So immigrant come to a particular country they cannot rome place to place. Like Carlos come from Italy to USA ,so Carlos is immigrant. If Carlos 1st go to Rome then USA where his home country is Italy then he is migrant. Am I Right? – Encipher Nov 19 '18 at 21:57
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    @RobbieGoodwin You've got them reversed, I think. – michael.hor257k Nov 19 '18 at 22:20

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