Impacts

Distinction between migration and mobility

Because intra-EU migrants have an automatic right to live and work outside their country of citizenship, it’s useful to distinguish between intra-EU migration and all other types of migration.

Migration between one EU country and another is known as ‘intra-EU mobility’. It is still a form of international migration, but it’s usually treated separately in EU policy debates.

‘Migration’ refers to everything else: that is, in the EU ‘international migration’ or ‘international migrant’ generally refers to ‘third-country nationals’ — who are not EU citizens, and who enter the EU to live in one of the member states.

While mobile EU citizens may also be referred to as migrants, you can’t correctly refer to a person without EU citizenship as a ‘mobile EU citizen’.

What do migration and mobility look like?

How do Europeans think about this distinction?

Why is there a distinction?