expats or immigrants?

Tordok

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I just noticed Robert's "Expat's Sticky" (a good idea BTW) and this got me thinking about definitions. This may sound rather silly but, I honestly would like the opinions of others. Below I summarize the entries from my buddy Merriam-Webster online:
im?mi?grant
one that immigrates : as a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence

ex?pa?tri?ate
Etymology: Medieval Latin expatriatus, past participle of expatriare to leave one's own country, from Latin ex- + patria native country, from feminine of patrius of a father, from patr-, pater father -- more at FATHER
transitive senses
1 : to withdraw (oneself) from residence in or allegiance to one's native country

So, both designate a person who moved from their country of origin to another. Right? Even with the caveat that the 'permanent' in the 1st definition may end up being a tecnical differentiator for the two terms;

why is it that everyone knows that colloquially we mean expat for someone from a rich nation (even if moving to an ever wealthier country), and immigrant as someone leaving a poor country (even if moving to a poorer part of the world)???

-Tordok
( I apologize beforehand to the DR1 elders if by any chance this topic has been previously discussed).
 

bochinche

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Tordok said:
......why is it that everyone knows that colloquially we mean expat for someone from a rich nation (even if moving to an ever wealthier country).......

...who is everyone? i have never, ever thought that. i might be guilty of thinking that an expat is someone who has left his own country, specifically for work - e.g. most of the brits and dutch that were (are?) in the d.r. working for shell. i am sure they fully intended to either return to their own countries or move on somewhere else. this is nothing to do with being from a rich/poor country. a haitian working here for a company on a specific contract could legitimately be called an expat in my dictionary.

Tordok said:
......and immigrant as someone leaving a poor country (even if moving to a poorer part of the world)???....

....anyone leaving a country (permanently) whether rich or poor is neither an expat nor an immigrant......he is an emigrant.
 

Texas Bill

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Simply gotta join in on the fun.

In the American colloquial, an "expat", from the American(meaning USA) sense, is one who is maintaining their citizenship, but residing/working in a foreign land.
Just that simple. Course I realoze that not Everyone is American and therefore can't speak for the definition others may give to the word.
Just my do' peso' worth.

Texas Bill
 

Tordok

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bochinche said:
...who is everyone? i have never, ever thought that. i might be guilty of thinking that an expat is someone who has left his own country, specifically for work - e.g. most of the brits and dutch that were (are?) in the d.r. working for shell. i am sure they fully intended to either return to their own countries or move on somewhere else. this is nothing to do with being from a rich/poor country. a haitian working here for a company on a specific contract could legitimately be called an expat in my dictionary.



....anyone leaving a country (permanently) whether rich or poor is neither an expat nor an immigrant......he is an emigrant.

Bochinche, thank you for pointing out my mistake of using a generalization. Your conclusion is however redundant and elliptical, since you must indeed emigrate from your country of origin and immigrate into your country of destination. The process is called migration. Please lets not belabor this issue. My point is that you never read in the media about
illegal or undocumented expats, the word used is immigrants. Yet, at face value, they both mean the same thing. You move from one country to another. The only exceptions are tourists, and other short term visitors with a specific reason for travel other than residing in a given foreign state. Throw in refugees and/or political/religious people in exile into the pile of exceptions, but these are forced relocations and merit their own terminology. Expats are clearly not tourists, that much we know. They might be spiritual refugees or merchants in exile, but not tourists. And maybe not quite immigrants either. As Texas Bill points out, in the U.S. this term is commonly -not exclusively- used in reference to long-term deployments overseas of individuals and/or families originating in the U.S. Texaco engineers and technicians in Saudi Arabia are not considered immigrants there. They don't "go native" and settle among the Bedouins. They are not settlers either, since the place has been pretty well settled for millenia. Ernest Hemingway was not an immigrant in France, Spain or Cuba, he was considered a glamour expatriate. Indeed most expatriates return to their countries of origin or even retire to third countries. Some stay and become part of the local community. It is kind of funny that you should mention the people from the Netherlands, since I am the Dominican direct descendant of a Dutchman executive who worked for an American company in the the sugar industry. A few may still view us there as extranjeros
or immigrants, but my generation is unquestionably Dominican. In fact within my family the expatriate is me, for having chosen to reside in the US.

In my view, the use of expat instead of immigrant seems to related to:
1) the degree of economic development of the country of origin of the migrant, but also
2) the volume of the migration; i.e., large contigents of nationals from one country to another, forming their own identity as distinct group among the locals (a minority if you will), are more likely to be viewed as immigrants,
regardless of country of origin. At least for a few generations. On the other hand, smaller groups or individuals in other shores are more likely to be viewed as expatriates.

-Tordok
 

jsizemore

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Aug 6, 2003
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Imho

Does not the term expat get used more based on the Social Class of the person in the country of current residense. Would say an engeneer working in a country no matter what the country of origin be called an expat while a gardener be called an imigrant?
John
 

Tordok

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jsizemore said:
Does not the term expat get used more based on the Social Class of the person in the country of current residense. Would say an engeneer working in a country no matter what the country of origin be called an expat while a gardener be called an imigrant?
John

Few individuals from Mexico in the US (the diplomatic corps, maybe?)
would be called expats, even if indeed in spirit many are just that.
It seems that regardless of their social standing at home or abroad, if they stay in the wealthier country for an extended period, they are likely to be deemed immigrants. Yet I suspect that if a Swedish doctor and a Swedish gardener move to DR, they will soon be lumped into the expat category, and not into the designation seemingly reserved for the "immigrant" laborers from Haiti. We rarely would see a Dominican from NYC referred to as an expat.
I raise the issue because for all practical purposes, I am an expatriate (Dominican in the US) and not an immigrant in the usual sense of these two words. Like for most expatriates, my move was a career choice. I came here as a professional. Unlike many, if not most Dominican immigrants to the US, I fortunately have never endured any kind of socio-economic deprivation, here or there. I am not part of a "migrant community". The urban Dominican-American communities are almost as alien to me as to a non-Dominican, in the sense that I have no direct connections to those neighborhoods. But precisely because Dominicans are so many in this country, once identified with DR origins, most individuals will be viewed as immigrants and not as the actual expats that some of us seem to be. By the way my above comments about Dominican communities is not meant to be offensive in any way, simply a statement of fact. My curiosity about the term is because of the way it is used, not because being an expat sounds more prestigious than plain immigrant or because I in any way seek to separate myself from other compatriots.

-Tordok
 

jsizemore

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expat

Tordak
Could another way to look at it is if you could go to the country without visa but that countries population would need one to come to your home country then you are an expat but if you need a visa for the country you are going to you are an imigrant?
Would you say then that the exapt perception would be one of almost colonial settlement mentality. The plantation owner amung the natives so to speak?
I realize we are splitiing hairs here but it is an interesting subject considering the social attitudes it lays bare.
John
 

Tordok

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jsizemore said:
Tordak
Could another way to look at it is if you could go to the country without visa but that countries population would need one to come to your home country then you are an expat but if you need a visa for the country you are going to you are an imigrant?
Would you say then that the exapt perception would be one of almost colonial settlement mentality. The plantation owner amung the natives so to speak?
I realize we are splitiing hairs here but it is an interesting subject considering the social attitudes it lays bare.
John

John, Thanks for the input. The visa aspect, I'm sure could be a factor, but it is independent of the more common usage for these different labels. It just seemed interesting to me, that rather than the legal technicalities, it appears that these terms are used to convey certain social perceptions based on the origin of any given foreign resident on any given country. So far the comments of others tend to agree with this notion that there are palpable distinctions between being an expat or an immigrant. It looks - in general and allowing for exceptions- as if most people would:
1) see the expat status as a temporary arrangement (however long) rather than a more permanent move.
2) also that the in some cases the actual individual's social background and the mission of the relocated person may weigh in the designation, and possibly alter the basic premise of economic differential between the country of origin and the country of destination. And lastly,
3) that whether there is a substantial demographic critical mass of co-nationals in the specific foreign land could also be a determining factor in choosing immigrant versus expat.

As you can see my theory is already incorporating new concepts. :surprised

With regards to your question, I do believe that the 'colonial mentality' as a sort of "collective unconscious process" is a also a factor in how these designations evolved. After all, the expat term as it is used today, was already in use during the era of frank European colonialism. But I don't think that people these days use it in a conscious manner to "perpetuate oppression" or stuff like that. It just became shorthand for people that move to another country to work, but almost exclusively for US, Canadian, and European folk; and that immigrant is more commonly applied to folks from poorer countries even if essentially the act is the same, -move to another country to work- but that somehow they don't quite qualify as expats.

Whether we end up agreeing or disagreeing, thanks for helping me split this particular set of hairs. I know its a random and petty concern, but fun nonetheless. :)

-Tordok
 

bochinche

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Jun 19, 2003
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Ken said:
Does this have some practical value or is it just an exercise?

....i agree. this thread has just become bloody stupid.
a lot of these posts are just fluff. if you really don't know the difference between an expat and an immigrant you need to go (back) to school.
 

Criss Colon

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I prefer to be called an :"Illegal Alien"!

I have lived and worked here for almost 9 years! Never had more than a "Tourist Visa"! The government pays part of my salary,and takes out for taxes,and now for the new "Pesion Plan",that I know that I will never see any of,and I doubt and Dominican will either! To big a "POT" for the government to keep their hands off of!CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
 

Don Juan

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It sounds much nicer

100% of residents (not native born) in DeaR of foreign ancestry would naturally call themselves expats because it simply SOUNDS much better than anything else. they wouldn't want to give the impression that they live in DeaR out of necessity, heavens no!, oh, I can go back to the US, Canada,Europe,Argentina etc. and live much better than in DeaR! I'm here only because...............(fill in the blank with your favorite lie), so don't call me an inmigrant or I'll pound you good! :smoke:
 

Tordok

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bochinche said:
....i agree. this thread has just become bloody stupid.
a lot of these posts are just fluff. if you really don't know the difference between an expat and an immigrant you need to go (back) to school.

Bochinche, please take it easy. I did warn on my opening post that this whole issue was kind of silly. Relax. I've acknowleded that this is a trivial pursuit and essentially of no consequence, but that could make for a lighthearted, candid and harmless exchange of ideas. Take a deep breath. An exercise, like someone suggested above.

Having said that, please don't assume that you can patronize me. Your tone is unnecesarily offensive and with it you degrade civil dialogue. If we get too serious about any of this, we'd find that 99% of the chatter on these threads would easily be categorized as fluff. Yet we post because we either have something to contribute or ask questions. Or be purposefully silly. You can say whatever you want but there is no need to launch a personal offensive. Your contribution has been an attempt to ridicule, yet you seem to lack the sense of humor to accomplish what others have. Even the vulgarity-prone CrisColon at least is funny in his misanthropy and very smartly uses self-deprecation.

It is pretty futile to get so worked up from just reading something on a computer. -...breath in-breath-out - What's really interesting is that you call this one thread stupid but actually bothered to post on it. Twice as a matter of fact. Does that make you doubly stupid? I wouldn't say so, but you kind of put yourself there. Please chill out and enjoy the banality of it all...or else just close the thread and move on.
-Tordok
:speechles
 

tmarc

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Apr 27, 2004
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Criss Colon said:
I have lived and worked here for almost 9 years! Never had more than a "Tourist Visa"! The government pays part of my salary,and takes out for taxes,and now for the new "Pesion Plan",that I know that I will never see any of,and I doubt and Dominican will either! To big a "POT" for the government to keep their hands off of!CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
Can you tell me a little about retiring in DR? Is ss retirement pension, private pensions, for a total of $2,000.00 a month enough to comfortably retire?

Are jobs available to US citizens in DR?
 

Lambada

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Before you get jumped on

tmarc said:
Can you tell me a little about retiring in DR? Is ss retirement pension, private pensions, for a total of $2,000.00 a month enough to comfortably retire?

Are jobs available to US citizens in DR?
and asked to be more specific about your size of family & lifestyle, the answer is yes, $2000 US is plenty for a very comfortable lifestyle. Why don't you PM Bushbaby who has a list of monthly expenses for the retiree lifestyle?
 

Texas Bill

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Criss Colon said:
I have lived and worked here for almost 9 years! Never had more than a "Tourist Visa"! The government pays part of my salary,and takes out for taxes,and now for the new "Pesion Plan",that I know that I will never see any of,and I doubt and Dominican will either! To big a "POT" for the government to keep their hands off of!CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

Hey Criss the US does the same thing, so why does the DR have to be any different??Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

They probably got the idea from the USA to begin with! I can't see their legislative bodies having the sense nor the foresight to really do anything on their own!

:ermm:

Texas Bill
 

Ladybird

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Tordok said:
Bochinche, please take it easy. I did warn on my opening post that this whole issue was kind of silly. Relax. I've acknowleded that this is a trivial pursuit and essentially of no consequence, but that could make for a lighthearted, candid and harmless exchange of ideas. Take a deep breath. An exercise, like someone suggested above.

Having said that, please don't assume that you can patronize me. Your tone is unnecesarily offensive and with it you degrade civil dialogue. If we get too serious about any of this, we'd find that 99% of the chatter on these threads would easily be categorized as fluff. Yet we post because we either have something to contribute or ask questions. Or be purposefully silly. You can say whatever you want but there is no need to launch a personal offensive. Your contribution has been an attempt to ridicule, yet you seem to lack the sense of humor to accomplish what others have. Even the vulgarity-prone CrisColon at least is funny in his misanthropy and very smartly uses self-deprecation.

It is pretty futile to get so worked up from just reading something on a computer. -...breath in-breath-out - What's really interesting is that you call this one thread stupid but actually bothered to post on it. Twice as a matter of fact. Does that make you doubly stupid? I wouldn't say so, but you kind of put yourself there. Please chill out and enjoy the banality of it all...or else just close the thread and move on.
-Tordok
:speechles
Ahh!!! I love the cold educated iciness of the English speaking put down. Go Oxford
 

hooptie2

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Lambada said:
and asked to be more specific about your size of family & lifestyle, the answer is yes, $2000 US is plenty for a very comfortable lifestyle. Why don't you PM Bushbaby who has a list of monthly expenses for the retiree lifestyle?
good advice to contact Bushbaby he is a wealth of knowledge. My husband and I are in the same boat financially and Bushbaby has given us some excellent information. Goal is to relocate to POP end of year. Good Luck!