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Expat Or Immigrant

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A Mexican on a temporary work visa in the US teaching Spanish would be an expat. By law, she could not be an immigrant while on the temporary, non-immigrant visa.

 

At least in the US, immigrant is a legal term while expatriate is not.

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NO! Expats are employees of international companies that have been sent by the company to work in a foreign country. The place of work is associated with the international company (division, subsidiary, or joint venture).

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NO! Expats are employees of international companies that have been sent by the company to work in a foreign country. The place of work is associated with the international company (division, subsidiary, or joint venture).

 

I was an expat contracted to PNG by a locally owned and run PNG company.

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NO! Expats are employees of international companies that have been sent by the company to work in a foreign country. The place of work is associated with the international company (division, subsidiary, or joint venture).

 

But that doesn't include say the Lost Generation writers who were living in France, and classic expatriates. I think the key issue in expat version immigrant is in the intention - immigrants intend to stay, expats don't, not in the long run.

 

I'm an expat, certainly - and I click all the boxes: white, professional, from a developed country, living abroad (and in undeveloped countries generally) the past 10-15 years, not settling anywhere permanently (in which case I'd become an immigrant, in my understanding).

 

Migrant is a term currently popular because it's so flexible, it doesn't require an assessment of the intention or status - it's just someone who is moving or has moved. For example, most broadcasters now refer to Arabs and Africans crossing the Med (north-bound...) illegally as 'migrants' - while more specifically they may be asylum-seekers, refugees, immigrants, or just guys out for a good time for a while, looking for an adventure and to make some money, say - so, expats. but they can all be lumped under the migrant label.

 

I'd say race has some substantial role - but that class and occupational status are the real factors with expat in common usage. Of course you can be an African expat, if your job status is high enough - the Pakistani manager at the Burj Khalifa is an expat, but the cleaners are migrants...

 

Pointless distinctions really (easy to say, as an expat...). Like backpackers dividing themselves up into "tourists" (a negative term, in their world) versus "travelers" (positive). As a friend of mine likes to say: "Don't call me a 'sex tourist'! I'm a 'sex traveler'..."

 

YimSiam

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