You can look up the difference in the definitions on your own computer. Suffice it to say that one group has rights and one group has privileges.
Occupants is another possibility – or residents. These seem to be more neutral in connotation. And a lot more transitional – both occupants and residents can be moved on and moved out when required.
Occupiers is a step down the comfort ladder from occupants. It posits an invasion and take-over. Like when your wife’s sister ‘s kids arrive for summer vacation. This is considered a holiday, but I can assure you that the place they have vacated is having the holiday – not you. You can see where the Maquis started…
The tortured position of being a resident but not a citizen can be a very real hell for millions of people – particularly if the rest of the population is made up of people who are both. They are generally unhappy with the first group – and no matter what you read on Facebook, it is not better in Scandinavia. The only thing that prevents wholesale slaughter of the average migrant or refugee is the high price of a good swords.
The trick to surviving all this is becoming a citizen of a number of nations simultaneously, while being perceived as a loyal adherent of whatever regime is in power wherever you are. If you combine this with careful study of the changes that inevitably occur you can be one step ahead of the howling mob.