Moving from one region/country to another or migration is from all times. The reason behind migration is mostly a quest in finding work for a better living. Interestingly enough, those who migrate are divided in a bunch of terms; expats, immigrants and refugees. Refugees are people who flee their homecountry because of possible prosecution based on belief, race, political view and any other reasons. I won’t explain this any further. This post is about expats vs immigrants.
Expats (from expatriates): are persons who live outside their native country temporarily or for a longer period.
Immigrants: are persons who live outside their native country permanently.
Image is courtesy of weeklyvoice.
The definition of both terms seems similar but yet they are different. To start with: expats are high skilled with management level occupation and higher while immigrants are low skilled with marginal jobs in the factories or in public services. People who migrate to their partner’s home country are called immigrant too.
And now it gets more interesting as according to how the term expats is used; it refers to white people only. According to this expats not immigrants piece, no matter how high skilled an IT expert from India who lives in Canada is, people won’t see him as an expat. On a contrary a Frenchman who teaches French in Jakarta, is automatically seen there as an expat.
I am not aware whether there is a socio linguistic research done on this or not. If you know one or more, do enlighten me.
Dutch immigration service (IND) categorizes migrants in several groups: highly skilled migrant (kennismigrant), employe (werknemer), seasonal worker (seizoenarbeider), self employment (ondernemer), scientific researcher (wetenschappelijk onderzoeker). Following these categories there are nuances between expats (highly skilled migrants) and immigrants (seasonal workers and employe).
I am married to a Dutch citizen and I live here in The Netherlands. According to Dutch immigration service people like me are migrants by marriage (family reunification by marriage/gezinshereniger). Unmarried partners of Dutch citizens fall under the same conditions although the name is a bit different; migrants by partnership.
However this migrant connotation is apparently unappealing to some people. I refer here by to Indonesian ladies who are married to Dutch men. They live here in The Netherlands with their Dutch spouses but yet they call themselves expats. Do they find themselves too good to use the term migrants by marriage? Are they
ignorant pretentious snobs? Or is it me ranting about the context of the terms?
I’d rather cut the ‘expats vs immigrants’ crap. Despite my management level occupation I am not an expat, I prefer to call myself a love migrant.