Post by occam Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Lewis
What is the difference between an Expat and an immigrant?
There seems to be some difference, but I can't seem to figure out what
it is. Certainly the Americans I know and knew in Mexico do not call
I have a friend in Thailand who has lived there 20 years, and another in
Japan who's been there 15 years. Both are "expats" but neither knows
why when I asked.
I'm inclined to agree with Horace, though I might say "identification
with" rather than "allegiance to". I haven't checked whether I'm
Thank you for that link. I thought that the issue was well thrashed out
at that time.
The only new 'take' characterising the difference is well summarised by
Lanarcam. "Immigrants" has a negative connotation, and is normally used
to describe working class people. "Expats" are professionals, who may
(or not) have made a commitment to their country of residence. Brussels
is full of expats who work for European institutions. No one in their
right mind would refer to them as "immigrants" - not even the Belgians.
While "immigrant" may sometimes have a negative connotation, I don't
think it always does, or is always applied to working class people. At
the time, we didn't use "ex-pat" but when my father lived in Canada, he
wasn't considered an immigrant because he came as an employee of an
American company and was expected to move on to another country sooner
or later. When my parents moved to the US, my mother was considered an
immigrant - although people generally didn't realize she was a pretty
reluctant one - because the assumption was that she was moving there
permanently. Both my parents were more or less of the same social
status, and although they both worked for pay, were probably not what is
meant by "working class". There were many war brides in my parents' day
- they were immigrants, not ex-pats or temporary workers, whatever their