Immigration is the unidirectional inward movement of individuals into a population or population area, departure from ones native land to settle in another, or “entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence”. 1
Reasons for immigration are most often economic, though religious and political factors may also be present. Reasons such as unbearable economic conditions and poor future prospects in the home country are called “push factors”.2 Immigration for education, retirement migration to countries with lower living costs and migration for reasons of health are examples of ‘pull factor’ immigration. Immigration due to persecution, abuse, ethnic cleansing and war risks are examples of push factor immigration. Some immigration takes place for personal reasons, such as for being with family or loved ones. Very wealthy persons move to countries with liberal tax structures. Highly skilled persons or those with exceptional talent are often invited to immigrate.
The definition of refugee now includes persons fearing persecution for ethnic or religious reasons, nationality, group membership or political opinion, and persons who have fled from their homes to other places in their own countries. Refugees are displaced persons, but not all are included in the definition of “refugee” under international law, such as internally displaced people.
Refugee status is determined on the basis of interpretation of persecution and the grounds for determining status. Persecution has meanings that are liable to different interpretations. Grounds for determination of refugee status depend on the grounds for persecution: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. 4