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{{other uses}}{{short description|Individual temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship}}{{more citations needed|date=August 2015}}{{Use dmy dates|date=June 2013}}File:Election presidentielle 2007 Lausanne MG 2757.jpg|thumb|Expatriate French voters queue in Lausanne, Switzerland for the first round of the presidential election of 2007 ]]An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person residing in a country other than their native country.WEB,weblink expatriate {{!, Definition of expatriate in English by Oxford Dictionaries|website=Oxford Dictionaries {{!}} English|access-date=2018-02-04}} In common usage, the term often refers to professionals, skilled workers, or artists taking positions outside their home country, either independently or sent abroad by their employers, which can be companies, universities, governments, or non-governmental organisations.BOOK, Castree, Noel, A Dictionary of Human Geography, Oxford University Press, 9780199599868,weblink 1, Rob Kitchen, Alisdair Rogers, 2013-04-25, Effectively migrant workers, they usually earn more than they would at home, and less than local employees. However, the term 'expatriate' is also used for retirees and others who have chosen to live outside their native country. Historically, it has also referred to exiles.WEB,weblink Definition of expatriate in English, 2017, Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press, 10 February 2017,


The word expatriate comes from the Latin terms (wikt:ex#Latin|ex) ("out of") and (wikt:patria#Latin|patria) ("native country, fatherland"). Dictionary definitions for the current meaning of the word include:
Expatriate: * 'A person who lives outside their native country' (Oxford), or * 'living in a foreign land' (Webster's).WEB,weblink Definition of expatriate, 2017, Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 10 February 2017,
These contrast with definitions of other words with a similar meaning, such as:
Migrant: * 'A person who moves from one place to another in order to find work or better living conditions' (Oxford),WEB,weblink Definition of migrant in English, 2017, Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press, 10 February 2017, or * 'one that migrates: such as a: a person who moves regularly in order to find work especially in harvesting crops' (Webster's);WEB,weblink Definition of migrant, 2017, Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 10 February 2017,
Immigrant * 'A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country' (Oxford),WEB,weblink Definition of immigrant in English, Oxford University Press, 10 February 2017, or * 'one that immigrates: such as a: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence (Webster's).WEB,weblink Definition of immigrant, 2017, Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 10 February 2017,
The varying use of these terms for different groups of foreigners can thus be seen as implying nuances about wealth, intended length of stay, perceived motives for moving, nationality, and even race. This has caused controversy, with many asserting that the traditional use of the word has had racist connotations.WEB,weblink Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?, Koutonin, Mawuna Remarque, 13 March 2015, The Guardian, Guardian Media Group, 17 April 2015, WEB,weblink In Hong Kong, Just Who Is an Expat, Anyway?, DeWolf, Christopher, 29 December 2014, The Wall Street Journal, News Corp (2013–present), News Corp, 10 February 2017, WEB,weblink Tulshyan, Ruchika, 'Expat' Under Fire: The Word Is Not Racist, Argues A Global Nomad (subscription required), 2 April 2015, The Wall Street Journal, News Corp (2013–present), News Corp, 10 February 2017, WEB,weblink Let's Kill off Expat, Secorun Palet, Laura, 13 November 2015, OZY, 22 October 2018, WEB,weblink Migrants Are Migrants, Briggs, Emma, 9 July 2018, The Bigger Picture, Medium (website), Medium, 22 October 2018, WEB,weblink Is "Expat" Racist?, Briggs, Emma, 30 January 2017, A Way with Words, Wayword, Inc., 22 October 2018, For example, a British national working in Spain or Portugal is commonly referred to as an 'expatriate', whereas a Spanish or Portuguese national working in Britain is referred to as an 'immigrant', thus indicating Anglocentrism.{{Citation needed|date=March 2019}}An older usage of the word expatriate was to refer to an exile. Alternatively, when used as a verb, expatriation can mean the act of someone renouncing allegiance to their native country, as in the preamble to the United States Expatriation Act of 1868 which says, '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.'United States Revised Statutes, Sec. 1999.Some neologisms have been coined, including:
  • flexpatriate, an employee who often travels internationally for business (see below);WEB,weblink Definition of flexpatriate, Financial Times: lexicon, The Nikkei, 22 February 2017,
  • (wikt:inpatriate|inpatriate), an employee sent from a foreign subsidiary to work in the country where a business is headquartered;WEB,weblink Inpatriates: On the Term and Academic Findings, Reiche, Sebastian, 22 January 2014, IESE Business School, University of Navarra, 21 February 2017,
  • rex-pat, a repeat expatriate, often someone who has chosen to return to a foreign country after completing a work assignment;WEB, Rex-patriate games: Film takes humorous look at moving – and staying – abroad, Drew, Kevin, 5 October 2004, CNN, Time Warner,weblink 21 February 2017,
  • (wikt:sexpat|sexpat), a sex tourist.WEB,weblink Hard lessons in expat paradise, McGeown, Kate, 14 December 2006, BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, 22 February 2017,


Since antiquity, people have gone to live in foreign countries, whether as diplomats, merchants or missionaries. The numbers of such travellers grew markedly after the 15th century with the dawn of the European colonial period.

Types of expat community

In the 19th century, travel became easier by way of steamship or train. People could more readily choose to live for several years in a foreign country, or be sent there by employers. The table below aims to show significant examples of expatriate communities which have developed since that time:{{Expand list|date=February 2017}}{| class="wikitable sortable plainrowheaders"! scope="col" |Group! scope="col" |Period! scope="col" |Country of origin! scope="col" |Destination! scope="col" |Host country! scope="col" class="unsortable" |Notes
Australians in the United Kingdom>Australians and New Zealanders in London|1960s-now|Australia/New Zealand|London|United Kingdom|
|Beat Generation|1950s|United States
|Beat Generation|1960s|United States|Paris|France|See Beat Hotel.
|British retirees|1970s–now|United Kingdom
Costa del Sol#Late 1970s onwards>Costa del Sol|Spain|Arguably immigrants if permanent.
|British retirees|current|United Kingdom
Dordogne#Demographics>Dordogne|France|Arguably immigrants if permanent.
|British Raj|1721–1949|United Kingdom|Princely states|India
|Celebrities and artists|1800s–now|various
Lake Geneva#Notable residents>Lake Geneva|Switzerland|
Filmmaking>Film-makers|1910s–now|Europe|Los Angeles|United StatesCinema of the United States>"Hollywood"
|Jet set|1950s–1970s|various||various|
|Lost Generation|1920s–30s|United States|Paris|France|See A Moveable Feast.
Modernism>Modernist artists & writers|1870s–1930s|various|French Riviera|France|
Russian oligarch#Oligarchs in London>Oligarchs|1990s–current|RussiaLAST=WOLLASTON DATE=6 JANUARY 2015 PUBLISHER=GUARDIAN MEDIA GROUP, 24 February 2017, |United Kingdom|
|Salarymen|current|Japan||various|See Japanese diaspora
|Shanghai French Concession|1849–1943|France|Shanghai|China|
|Shanghai International Settlement|1863–1945|United Kingdom|Shanghai|China
British Concession (Shanghai)>British Concession
|Shanghai International Settlement|1863–1945|United States|Shanghai|China|Preceded by American Concession.
|Tax exiles|1860s(?)–now|various|Monte Carlo|Monaco|
|Third culture kids|current|various||various|Includes 'military brats' and 'diplobrats'.
During the 1930s, Nazi Germany revoked the citizenship of many opponents, such as Albert Einstein, Oskar Maria Graf, Willy Brandt and Thomas Mann, often expatriating entire families.BOOK, Siegfried Grundmann, The Einstein Dossiers: Science and Politics - Einstein's Berlin Period with an Appendix on Einstein's FBI File,weblink 2005, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 978-3-540-25661-8, 294, Oskar Maria Graf timeline: expatriated 1934 {{webarchive |url= |date=1 May 2013 }}, Kritikatur â€“ Die Welt der Literatur. Retrieved 4 December 2011.After World War II, decolonisation accelerated. However, lifestyles which had developed among European colonials continued to some degree in expatriate communities. Remnants of the old British Empire, for example, can still be seen in the form of gated communities staffed by domestic workers. Social clubs which have survived include the Hash House Harriers and the Royal Selangor. Homesick palates are catered for by specialist food shops, and drinkers can still order a gin and tonic, a pink gin, or a Singapore Sling. Although pith helmets are mostly confined to military ceremonies, civilians still wear white dinner jackets or even Red Sea rig on occasion. The use of curry powder has long since spread to the metropole.From the 1950s, scheduled flights on jet airliners further increased the speed of international travel. This enabled a hypermobility which led to the jet set, and eventually to global nomads and the concept of a perpetual traveler.

Worldwide distribution of expats

{{Further|List of sovereign states and dependent territories by immigrant population |List of countries by foreign-born population}}In recent years, terrorist attacks against Westerners have at times curtailed the party lifestyle of some expatriate communities, especially in the Middle East.WEB,weblink Expat Brits live in fear as Saudis turn on the West, Harris, Paul, Pelham, Nick, Bright, Martin, 28 July 2002, The Guardian, Guardian Media Group, 25 February 2017, The number of expatriates in the world is difficult to determine, since there is no governmental census.JOURNAL, Dumont, Jean-Christophe, Lamaitre, Georges, 2005-11-02, Counting Immigrants and Expatriates in OECD Countries, OECD Economic Studies, en, 2005, 1, 49–83, 10.1787/eco_studies-v2005-art3-en, 0255-0822, The international market research and consulting company Finaccord estimated the number to be 56.8 million in 2017.WEB,weblink Press Release_2014_Global Expatriates: Size, Segmentation and Forecast for the Worldwide Market,, 2017-12-01, That would resemble the population of Tanzania or Italy.In 2013, the United Nations estimated that 232 million people, or 3.2 per cent of the world population, lived outside their home country.NEWS,weblink More people than ever living outside their home country, Daily Mail, 14 April 2014, 2013-09-12,

Business expatriates

missing image!
- Publication 54 Tax Guide for US Citizens Living Abroad, 1965.jpg -
upright=0.7|Long among the complexities of living in foreign countries has been the management of finances, including the payment of taxes; here, a 32-page IRS publication from 1965 for Americans living abroad
Many multinational corporations send employees to foreign countries to work in branch offices or subsidiaries. Expatriate employees allow a parent company to more closely control its foreign subsidiaries. They can also improve global coordination.BOOK, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, Chew, J, 2004, 1–30, A 2007 study found the key drivers for expatriates to pursue international careers were: breadth of responsibilities, nature of the international environment (risk and challenge), high levels of autonomy of international posts and cultural differences (rethinking old ways).JOURNAL, Vesa Suutari, Kristiina Mäkelä, 2007-09-25, The career capital of managers with global careers, Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22, 7, 628–648, 10.1108/02683940710820073, 0268-3946, However, expatriate professionals and independent expatriate hires are often more expensive than local employees. Expatriate salaries are usually augmented with allowances to compensate for a higher cost of living or hardships associated with a foreign posting. Other expenses may need to be paid, such as health care, housing, or fees at an international school. There is also the cost of moving a family and their belongings. Another problem can be government restrictions in the foreign country.BOOK, Gomez-Mejia, Luis, Balkin, David, Cardy, Robert, Managing Human Resources, 2007, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 978-0-13-187067-3, 544–5, JOURNAL, Kraimer, M, 2016, Themes in Expatriate and Repatriate Research over Four Decades: What Do We Know and What Do We Still Need to Learn?, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Spouses may have trouble adjusting due to culture shock, loss of their usual social network, interruptions to their own career, and helping children cope with a new school. These are chief reasons given for foreign assignments ending early.JOURNAL, Pilenzo, R, DOES CULTURE REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN EXPAT ASSIGNMENTS?, Expatriates Magazine, September 2013, 2, 4,weblink yes,weblink" title="">weblink 5 October 2013, dmy, However, a spouse can also act as a source of support for an expatriate professional.Lauring, J., & Selmer, J. 2010. The supportive expatriate spouse: An ethnographic study of spouse involvement in expatriate careers. International Business Review, 19(1): 59-69. Families with children help to bridge the language and culture aspect of the host and home country, while the spouse plays a critical role in balancing the families integration into the culture. Some corporations have begun to include spouses earlier when making decisions about a foreign posting, and offer coaching or adjustment training before a family departs.{{citation needed|date=February 2017}} According to the 2012 Global Relocation Trends Survey Report, 88 per cent of spouses resist a proposed move. The most common reasons for refusing an assignment are family concerns and the spouse's career.BOOK, Essentials of International Human Resource Management, Thomas, David, SAGE, 2014, 978-1-4129-9591-7, London, 190–193, Expatriate failure is a term which has been coined for an employee returning prematurely to their home country, or resigning. On average, approximately 7% of expatriates return early.JOURNAL, Global Relocation Trends 2010, Global Mobility Solutions, 2010, Although a failure rate of 7% may seem low, this percentage fails to take into account those that perform poorly while on assignment or that leave the company entirely, and should therefor be higher in reality. This turnover of employees is especially concerning because a major reason companies send employees on assignment is to develop human capital and create global leaders. When the employee leaves the company during or soon after return, the company is unable to receive a return on investment. When asked what the cost of a premature expatriates return costs a company, 57 MNE's reported an average cost of approximately $225,000 in 2019 USD.JOURNAL, Tungli, Z, Peiperl, M, Expatriate practices in German, Japanese, U.K., and U.S. multinational companies: a comparative survey of changes., Human Resources Management, 2009, 48, 153–171, 10.1002/hrm.20271,


S.K Canhilal and R.G. Shemueli suggest that successful expatriation is driven by a combination of individual, organizational, and context-related factorsweblink Of these factors, the most significant have been outlined as: cross-cultural competences, spousal support, motivational questions, time of assignment, emotional competences, previous international experience language fluency, social relational skills, cultural differences, and organizational recruitment and selection processweblink

Recent trends

Trends in recent years among business expatriates have included:
  • Reluctance by employees to accept foreign assignments, due to spouses also having a career.
  • Reluctance by multinational corporations to sponsor overseas assignments, due to increased sensitivity both to costs and to local cultures.{{citation needed|date=April 2017}} It is common for an expat to cost at least 3-4 times more than a comparable local employee.WEB,weblink Is the Traditional Expat Model Declining? 3 Ways Organisations Are Replacing It, E. O., Executives,,
  • Short-term assignments becoming more common.JOURNAL, 10.1016/j.jwb.2007.02.005, Changing patterns of global staffing in the multinational enterprise: Challenges to the conventional expatriate assignment and emerging alternatives, Journal of World Business, 42, 2, 198, 2007, Collings, D. G., Scullion, H., Morley, M. J., BOOK, Essentials of International Human Resource Management, Thomas, David, SAGE, 2014, 978-1-4129-9591-7, London, 188–189, These are assignments of several months to a year which rarely require the expatriate family to move. They can include specific projects, technology transfer, or problem-solving tasks. In 2008, nearly two thirds of international assignments consisted of short-term assignments (greater than one year, typically three years). In 2014, that number fell to just over half.WEB,weblink The decline of the traditional expat?,,
  • Self-initiated expatriation, where individuals themselves arrange a contract to work overseas, rather than being sent by a parent company to a subsidiary.JOURNAL, 10.1016/S1090-9516(97)90017-1, Expatriate assignment versus overseas experience: Contrasting models of international human resource development, Journal of World Business, 32, 4, 351, 1997, Inkson, K., Arthur, M. B., Pringle, J., Barry, S., WEB,weblink Self-initiated expatriates (SIEs), 2013, 9 October 2013,, Andresen, M., Bergdolt, F., & Margenfeld, J. 2012. What distinguishes self-initiated expatriates from assigned expatriates and migrants? A literature-based definition and differentiation of terms. In M. Andresen, A. A. Ariss, M. Walther, & K. Wolff (Eds.), Self-initiated expatriation: Individual, organizational and national perspectives: Routledge.Inkson, K., & Myers, B. A. 2003. "The big OE": self-directed travel and career development. Career Development International, 8(4): 170-181.Selmer, J., & Lauring, J. 2010. Self-initiated academic expatriates: Inherent demographics and reasons to expatriate. European Management Review, 7(3): 169-179. An 'SIE' typically does not require as big a compensation package as does a traditional business expatriate. Also, spouses of SIEs are less reluctant to interrupt their own careers, at a time when dual-career issues are arguably shrinking the pool of willing expatriates.Tharenou, P. 2013. Self-initiated expatriates: An alternative to company-assigned expatriates? Journal of Global Mobility, 1(3): 336-356.
  • Local companies in emerging markets hiring Western managers directly.JOURNAL, Arp, Frithjof, Hutchings, Kate, Smith, Wendy A., 2013, Foreign executives in local organisations: An exploration of differences to other types of expatriates,weblink Journal of Global Mobility, 1, 3, 312–335, 10.1108/JGM-01-2013-0006, JOURNAL, Arp, Frithjof, 2014, Emerging giants, aspiring multinationals and foreign executives: Leapfrogging, capability building, and competing with developed country multinationals, Human Resource Management, 53, 6, 851–876, 10.1002/hrm.21610, WEB,weblink Foreign Executives in Local Organisations, 2012, 13 July 2012,, JOURNAL, Arp, Frithjof, 2013, Typologies: What types of foreign executives are appointed by local organisations and what types of organisations appoint them?, German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management / Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, 27, 3, 167–194, 10.1688/1862-0000_ZfP_2013_03_Arp, 10419/85280,
  • Commuter assignments which involve employees living in one country but travelling to another for work. This usually occurs on a weekly or biweekly rotation, with weekends spent at home.
  • Flexpatriates, international business travellers who take a plethora of short trips to locations around the globe for negotiations, meetings, training and conferences. These assignments are usually of several weeks duration each. Their irregular nature can cause stress within a family.
  • Increased scholarship and research. For instance, Emerald Group Publishing in 2013 launched The Journal of Global Mobility: The home of expatriate management research.WEB,weblink Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research,,
  • Diversity is becoming an important issue not just for management but also mobility teams. Mercer's 2017 Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies and Practices about the participation of women in the expatriate workforce demonstrates that much has to be done to ensure gender parity and to fight the unconscious bias that limit the participation of minorities in the expatriate workforce. Currently the average percentage of women in the expatriate workforce globally is only 14%.WEB,weblink

Expatriate children

Another issue with expatriate children is that often when children are raised in a country that is not their passport country, when they go back to their home country or leave their known community, they find themselves lost and without friends or peers to relate to. Children or young adults like this are called third culture kids. This means that they have essentially two cultures within themselves- the country in which they are living and the country they identify with as their passport country. This creates an assortment of issues- including the fact that they do not have an exact culture. Because they are a jumble of cultures, they don't feel as if they have a category in this world. Therefore, this creates a middle zone called the "third culture." The culture is a safe haven for misunderstood expatriate children to reside in.There are many questions third culture kids face, such as the most commonly struggled with one- "Where are you from?"WEB,weblink The 10 biggest struggles for a third culture kid, 23 February 2016,, These types of questions are incredibly difficult for expats to explain. Even expat parents may not be able to answer the burning questions they have been asked by their children. Students living abroad also have to choose schools- often opting for international schools, due to the fact that the environment is an area that is practically a habitat to cultivate understanding between third culture kids. Students going to international schools often feel understood more deeply by going to the school- rather than how understood they would feel at any other school that is on their passport. This is simply because of the subconscious understanding between children who are struggling in the same ways with their identity.There are also downsides to expatriate life, however. Expatriate life is difficult- it is not for the faint of heart. Because of the trauma of moving from place to place; young children, specifically between the ages 10–15, experience what is called Expat Child Syndrome. Expat Child Syndrome is defined as "..a term that has been coined by psychologists to describe an emotional stress in children caused by a move abroad." Expat Child Syndrome is present in many ways- some visible and some invisible. Some children may be more affected by it than others. The more severe cases include behavior of seclusion, loneliness, withdrawn behavior and uncooperative or even disruptive behavior. Nevertheless, abrupt movement between cultures and communities is uprooting and terrifying for children and young adults.WEB,weblink Expat Child Syndrome (ECS) : Expat Info Desk,,

Literary and screen portrayals

Expatriate milieus are the setting of many novels and short stories, including works by:{{columns-list|colwidth=30em| }}Memoirs of expatriate life include those by authors such as:{{columns-list|colwidth=30em| }}Films have also been made about the subject, often dealing with issues of culture shock experienced by expatriates. Examples, grouped by host country, include:{{columns-list|colwidth=30em| }}Television programmes made about expatriate life include comedies, dramas, documentaries and reality series, such as:{hide}columns-list|colwidth=30em| {edih}

See also

{hide}columns-list|colwidth=30em| {edih}



External links

{{Wiktionary}}{{commons category}}{{EB1911 Poster|Expatriation}}
  • {{dmoz|Society/People/Expatriates/}}

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