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definition of migration

Definition of Migration

A migration is defined as a move from one migration-defining area to another (or a move of some specified minimum distance) that was made during a given migration interval and that involved a change of residence. A migrant is a person who has changed his usual place of residence from one migration-defining area to another (or who moved some specified minimum distance) at least once during the migration interval (United Nations, 1970).

Most statistical offices in the United States “define” migration as a relatively permanent change of residence that crosses jurisdictional boundaries (counties in particular), measured in terms of usual residence at a prior point in time, typically one to five years earlier. Local moves within jurisdictions are referred to as residential mobility (Population Association of America, 1988).

u s definitions
U.S. Definitions
  • Legal Permanent Residents are persons who have been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States. They are also known as “green card” recipients (2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics).
  • Nonimmigrant admissions refer to arrivals of persons who are authorized to stay in the United States for a limited period of time. Most nonimmigrants enter the United States as tourists or business travelers, but some come to work, study, or engage in cultural exchange programs (2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics).
  • Refugees and asylees are persons who sought residence in the United States in order to avoid persecution in their country of origin. Persons granted refugee status applied for admission while outside the United States. Persons granted asylum applied either at a port of entry or at some point after their entry into the United States (2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics).
definitions of immigrants reported by selected countries
Definitions of immigrants reported by selected countries
  • Cameroon: Persons entering the country with visas and staying at least one month.
  • Gabon: Persons entering the country, independent of their length of stay.
  • Malawi: Persons coming to stay more than six months as a resident of the country.
  • Seychelles: Residents returning after an absence of over 12 months and other arrivals intending to stay over 12 months.
  • Barbados: Non-residents intending to remain for six months or more.
  • Dominican Republic: Non-residents (nationals and aliens) intending to remain in the country more than one year.
  • Guatemala: Non-tourists entering the country.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Persons (except students) intending to reside in the country for three or more years (permanent immigrants), and persons admitted to reside in the country for one year but less than three years (temporary immigrants).
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Burma: Persons entering intending to find employment.

  • Saudi Arabia: Aliens entering the country regardless of purpose or intended duration of stay.
  • Denmark: Persons starting to work after arriving from a foreign country or those having stayed for at least three months.
  • France: Permanent salaried workers (i.e., having a work contract of one-year duration) and members of their families and all Algerians coming from Algeria.
  • Netherlands: Nationals intending to stay more than 30 days and aliens intending to stay for more than 180 days.
  • United Kingdom: Persons intending to reside in the country for a year or more after having resided outside the country for a year or more.
  • Australia: Persons arriving with the stated intention of settling permanently in the country (settlers) and visitors arriving with the stated intention of staying for 12 months or more, and residents returning after spending 12 months or more abroad.
definitions of emigrants reported by selected countries
Definitions of emigrants reported by selected countries
  • Angola: Persons registered as passengers leaving by sea regardless of purpose or duration of trip.
  • Ethiopia: Persons leaving the country without the immediate intention of returning.
  • Uganda: Residents leaving the country for more than one year.
  • Barbados: Residents intending to stay abroad for six months or more.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Residents (except students) intending to reside abroad for three years or more.
  • Ecuador: Persons leaving the country.
  • Guyana: Residents (except students) intending to reside abroad for one year or more.
  • Burma: Residents who leave intending to find employment in another country.
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Finland: Persons leaving to work abroad for at least one year or to marry and remain abroad permanently.

  • France: Algerian nationals departing for Algeria.
  • United Kingdom: Persons intending to reside outside the country for a year or more after having resided in the country for a year or more.
  • New Zealand: Persons departing who have been residents for at least one year, with the intention of not returning or of remaining absent for one year or more.