Difference between Immigrant and Refugee

Key difference: Immigrant and Refugee are the people who resettle themselves into a new region or a place. Immigrants are the ones who leave their homeland permanently into a new place, while refugees are the ones who are devastated people and have to leave their place forcibly.

Immigrants are the people who leave their hometown, and resettle themselves into a new region, wherein, they reestablish themselves with a new origin.

There are government departments and faculties in every country to look after the immigrants and their welfare. These are those people who have to leave their place due to some economic crises, and settle down in a new place. These are the ones, who leave their hometown on their own. They are also shifted to another country due to some crises such as economic or political reasons, or they shift for family re-unification or due to natural disasters. They are supposed to always carry legal documents of their immigration. According to the International Organization for Migration, Europe held more than 200 million immigrants as of 2006.

Refugees are the people who are forced to leave their hometown due to wars, partitions, environmental crises, political persecution and religious ethnic intolerance. They are also known as displaced people. They migrate on their own with their families leaving behind their property.

Refugees generally carry one type of document which specifies their identity as refugees. They mostly migrate to another country for the sake of safety and protection. They resettle themselves with a new identity in a new place. In today’s era, many active plans, operations and legal laws have been implemented to support refugees.

Comparison between Immigrants and Refugees:

 

Immigrants

Refugees

Description

A person who has settled permanently in another country.

A person who is forced to flee from persecution and who is located outside of their home country.

Type of crises

They are ones who migrate from their hometown to the other due to some crises such as economic or political reasons, family re-unification, and natural disasters

They are the people, who are forced to leave their hometowns due to the wars, partitions, environmental crises, political persecution and religious ethnic intolerance.

Reasons

Immigrants are generally from foreign countries who relocate to live in another country.

Refugees move out of fear or necessity, for the sake of security and protection as their homes have been destroyed in a natural disaster.

Citizenship

They may or may not be citizens of the current country in which they migrate.

They are not the citizens of the current country in which they migrate.

Legal documents

They have the legal documents of immigration.

They have only one document, which concludes them as refugees.

Acts

Some of the Immigrant related acts are:

  • ACT Skilled and Business Migration Program.
  • Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
  • Immigration Advice and Rights Centre.

Some of the Refugee related acts are: 

  • World government US Dept. of Health and Human Services page about the Refugee Act.
  • Balanced Refugee Reform Act.

Image Courtesy: messinglawoffices.com, hhi.harvard.edu

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