What is a migrant

The approach of the Movement to migration is strictly humanitarian and based on the recognition of each migrant’s individuality and aspirations.

It focuses on the needs, vulnerabilities and potentials of migrants, irrespective of their legal status, type, or category.

In order to capture the full extent of humanitarian concerns related to migration, our description of migrants is deliberately broad:

Migrants are persons who leave or flee their habitual residence to go to new places – usually abroad – to seek opportunities or safer and better prospects. Migration can be voluntary or involuntary, but most of the time a combination of choices and constraints are involved.

Our use of the term ‘migrant’ thus includes:

  • labour migrants
  • stateless migrants
  • migrants deemed irregular by public authorities
  • migrants displaced within their own country
  • refugees and asylum-seekers


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies . As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright