Expatriate
Overview
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex ("out of") and patria ("country, fatherland").
In its broadest sense, an expatriate is any person living in a different country from where he or she is a citizen. In common usage, the term is often used in the context of professionals sent abroad by their companies, as opposed to locally hired staff (who can also be foreigners).
Encyclopedia
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex ("out of") and patria ("country, fatherland").

Background

In its broadest sense, an expatriate is any person living in a different country from where he or she is a citizen. In common usage, the term is often used in the context of professionals sent abroad by their companies, as opposed to locally hired staff (who can also be foreigners). The differentiation found in common usage usually comes down to socio-economic factors, so skilled professionals working in another country are described as expatriates, whereas a manual labourer who has moved to another country to earn more money might be labelled an 'immigrant'. There is no set definition and usage does vary depending on context and individual preferences and prejudices. 'Expatriation' has also been used in a legal sense to mean 'renunciation
Renunciation of citizenship
Renunciation is a voluntary act of relinquishing one's citizenship . It is the opposite of naturalization whereby a person voluntarily acquires a citizenship, and related to denaturalization where the loss of citizenship is not voluntary, but forced by a state.-Historic practices:The old common law...

 of allegiance
Allegiance
An allegiance is a duty of fidelity said to be owed by a subject or a citizen to his/her state or sovereign.-Etymology:From Middle English ligeaunce . The al- prefix was probably added through confusion with another legal term, allegeance, an "allegation"...

;' the Expatriation Act of 1868 said in its preamble, 'the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

In the 19th century, Americans, numbering perhaps in the thousands, were drawn to Europe—especially to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Paris—to study the art of painting. Henry James
Henry James
Henry James, OM was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr., a clergyman, and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James....

, for instance, was a famous expatriate American writer from the 1870s, who adopted England as his home.

The term 'expatriate' in some countries also has a legal context used for tax purposes. An expatriate living in a country can receive a favourable tax treatment. In this context a person can only be an expatriate if they move to a country other than their own to work with the intent of returning to their home country within a period of no more than 5 fiscal years. This number of years can vary per tax jurisdiction, but 5 years is the most commonly used maximum period.

Trends in expatriation

During the later half of the 20th century, expatriation was dominated by professionals sent by their employers to foreign subsidiaries or headquarters. Starting at the end of the 20th century globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 created a global market for skilled professionals and leveled the income of skilled professionals relative to cost of living while the income differences of the unskilled remained large. The cost of intercontinental travel had become sufficiently low such that employers not finding the skill in a local market could effectively turn to recruitment on a global scale.

This has created a different type of expatriate where commuter and short-term assignments are becoming more common and often used by organizations to supplement traditional expatriation. Private motivation is becoming more relevant than company assignment. Families might often stay behind when work opportunities amount to months instead of years. The cultural impact of this trend is more significant. Traditional corporate expatriates did not integrate and commonly only associated with the elite of the country they were living in. Modern expatriates form a global middle class with shared work experiences in a multi-national corporation and working and living the global financial and economical centers. Integration is incomplete but strong cultural influences are transmitted. Middle class expatriates contain many re-migrants from emigration movements one or two generations earlier.

In Dubai the population is predominantly expatriates, from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, with only 20% of the population made up of citizens.

The continuing shift in expatriates has often been difficult to measure. According to UN statistics, more than 200 million people would be living outside of their home country in 2010. However, this number also includes economic migrants.

In terms of outbound expatriation, the UK has currently the highest number of expatriates among OECD countries with more than three million British living abroad, followed by Germany and Italy. On an annual basis, emigration from the UK has stood at about 400,000 per year for the past 10 years.
In terms of expatriates influx, the most popular expatriate destinations are currently Spain, followed by Germany and the UK.

The Expat Directory is currently collating information on expatriate movements to provide a statistical overview of expatriate origin and destination countries. Current statistics show that the majority of expatriates originate from the United States. The questionnaire aims to provide further information or key destinations and the length of time that expatriates spend overseas. The survey will remain open ended with monthly snapshots collated from March 2010.

According to linkexpats, Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 claims the highest number of expatriates, followed by Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

, and Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2008, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 1,090,797. The metropolitan area spans approximately and includes six provinces called wilayats...

, Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

.

The Global Economic downturn of 2008/9 has seen many United Kingdom Expatriates returning to the UK. This trend has been predominantly attributed to 'pensioner expatriates' with the poor exchange rate making life less affordable. The process of relocating back to one's home country is known as repatriation and brings with it a specific set of challenges.

Business handling of expatriate employees

The salary of internationally assigned personnel customarily consists of standard salary and monetary benefits such as cost of living and/or hardship allowances supported by non-monetary incentives i.e. housing and education. Some companies will completely cover the cost of the education, even at relatively expensive international school
International school
An International school is loosely defined as a school that promotes international education, in an international environment, either by adopting an international curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations, or by following a national...

s, while other, usually smaller companies, encourage families to find local schooling options.

International corporations often have a company-wide policy and coaching system that includes spouses at an earlier stage in the decision-making process, giving spouses an official voice. Not many companies provide any compensation for loss of income of expatriate spouses
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

, although they often do provide other benefits and assistance. The level of support differs, ranging from offering a job-hunting course for spouses at the new location to full service partner support structures, run by volunteering spouses supported by the organization. An example of an expatriate-led project can be found in the Gracia Arts Project
Gracia Arts Project
The Gracia Arts Project is a publicly supported non-profit organization and non-governmental organization established by Justin Donlon, James Wardell, and on January 1, 2000 in Barcelona, Spain, to benefit all the arts with a view to share information, ideas, collaborate and actively pursue...

 of Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of using expatriate employees to staff international company subsidiaries. Advantages include, permitting closer control and coordination of international subsidiaries and providing a broader global perspective. Disadvantages include high transfer costs, the possibility of encountering local government restrictions, and possibly creating a problem of adaptability to foreign environments.

Expatriate Archive Centre

The Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 (Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

) has a unique collection of letters, diaries
Diary
A diary is a record with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer's direct experience. Someone...

, photographs and films documenting the social history of expatriate life. It collects journals, letters, diaries and photographs – in fact, almost any document from the past detailing the lives and experiences of people working and living away from their home country.

The Expatriate Archive’s purpose is to collect, preserve, promote, and make available to the public and researchers a collection of primary source materials documenting the social history
Social history
Social history, often called the new social history, is a branch of History that includes history of ordinary people and their strategies of coping with life. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments...

 of expatriate life. It aims to give a voice to the memories and experiences of expatriates of all nationalities from all over the world, and to establish a research resource for historians worldwide.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, the term "expat" is not used for all foreigners living and working there, but only to those on "expat" contracts. Typical Swiss expats will be living in housing provided by the employer, with most other expenses such as children's (English) education also paid by the employer. In theory, this is because they are still maintaining a home in their original country. This is in strong contrast with those on "local" contracts who are treated and paid like other locals. The "expats" have a reputation of being flush with money, and raising the prices for others who are not subsidised in this way. Expat contracts are usually time limited, so the expats either move on to another assignment, or are given a local contract without expat subsidies.

See also

  • Worldwide ERC (Employee Relocation Council) for employment trends in international assignment management.
  • Alien (law)
    Alien (law)
    In law, an alien is a person in a country who is not a citizen of that country.-Categorization:Types of "alien" persons are:*An alien who is legally permitted to remain in a country which is foreign to him or her. On specified terms, this kind of alien may be called a legal alien of that country...

  • Gastarbeiter
    Gastarbeiter
    Gastarbeiter is German for "guest worker." It refers to migrant workers who had moved to West Germany mainly in the 1960s and 70s, seeking work as part of a formal guest worker programme...

    ("guest worker")
  • Émigré
    Émigré
    Émigré is a French term that literally refers to a person who has "migrated out", but often carries a connotation of politico-social self-exile....

  • Ethnic enclave
    Ethnic enclave
    An ethnic enclave is an ethnic community which retains some cultural distinction from a larger, surrounding area, it may be a neighborhood, an area or an administrative division based on ethnic groups. Sometimes an entire city may have such a feel. Usually the enclave revolves around businesses...

  • Existential migration
    Existential migration
    Existential migration is a concept derived from phenomenological research into the lives of voluntary migrants who have chosen to leave their country of origin in order to live as foreigners in a new land...

  • English-language radio
  • Canadians of convenience
    Canadians of convenience
    The term "Canadians of convenience" was coined by Canadian politician Garth Turner in 2006 in conjunction with the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict...

  • Third culture kid
    Third culture kid
    Third culture kid is a term coined in the early 1950s by American sociologist and anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem "to refer to the children who accompany their parents into another society". Other terms, such as trans-culture kid, are also used by some. More recently, American sociologist David C...

  • Permanent residency
    Permanent residency
    Permanent residency refers to a person's visa status: the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident....

     (compare and contrast with domicile
    Domicile (law)
    In law, domicile is the status or attribution of being a permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. A person can remain domiciled in a jurisdiction even after they have left it, if they have maintained sufficient links with that jurisdiction or have not displayed an intention to leave...

    )
  • Domicile
    Domicile (law)
    In law, domicile is the status or attribution of being a permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. A person can remain domiciled in a jurisdiction even after they have left it, if they have maintained sufficient links with that jurisdiction or have not displayed an intention to leave...

     (compare and contrast with permanent residency
    Permanent residency
    Permanent residency refers to a person's visa status: the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident....

    )
  • Cosmopolitanism
    Cosmopolitanism
    Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality. This is contrasted with communitarian and particularistic theories, especially the ideas of patriotism and nationalism...

  • Diaspora
    Diaspora
    A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

  • Teaching English overseas
  • Migrant Worker
    Migrant worker
    The term migrant worker has different official meanings and connotations in different parts of the world. The United Nations' definition is broad, including any people working outside of their home country...

  • Qualifying registered overseas pension schemes
    Qualifying registered overseas pension schemes
    A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme or QROPS is an overseas pension scheme that meets certain requirements in order that it can be recognised by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs...

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