The difference between emigrate and immigrate are subtle but important because using one of these words depends on the sentence’s point of view. This small difference in meaning creates confusion among writers. However, it is important to focus first on the word migrate because it encompasses both emigrate and immigrate.
The term migrate is a verb meaning “to move from one region or habitat to another, especially regularly according to the seasons” in the case of animals, particularly birds and fishes, but in this discussion, we will take in consideration its meaning “to move from one area or country to settle in another, especially in search of work,” which is applicable to people.
“Are you planning to leave, or no longer migrate to, the US?”
“Sex with Neanderthals helped our ancestors live out of Africa”
International Business Times UK
“Japan companies and investors migrate to Vietnam”
Meanwhile, the term emigrate is a verb used to mean “to leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another.” It has an implication that a person or persons are permanently moving from his former location.
“These are the best countries for Americans to emigrate to as Donald Trump becomes President”
“Americans google ‘how do I emigrate?’ as searches for ‘end of the world’ rise around the planet”
“Celebrities in political campaigns who threaten to emigrate”
On the other hand, the term immigrate is a verb meaning “to come to live permanently in a foreign country.” It also implies a permanent movement of a person to another place.
“Melania Trump Will Share Her Experience Immigrating to the US in Campaign Speech”
“9 countries to which Americans can easily immigrate”
“McCool: Americans are going to find it hard to immigrate to Canada if Trump wins”
In order to determine which term to use in a sentence, you can keep in mind the following:
- Migrate is a term that covers both emigrate and immigrate since it refers to the movement FROM one place TO another.
- Emigrate is the term used when your point of view is leaving or moving FROM your country or place of origin.
- Immigrate is the term used when your point of view is arriving or moving TO your destination country.