What is an expatriate, exactly?

What is an expat? And what is a migrant? When is an expat an immigrant?

Expat, it conjures up an image many of us will agree looks the same. Middle class white person with a decent career and expendable income. Just as the terms immigrant and migrant bring a different set of assumptions. It's a hot button issue at the moment, with brexit and recent travel bans being issued the conversation needs to be had.

With these major events happening, fears surrounding job security, concerns over immigration and basic human travel conditions are the spark that lights the flame of this discussion. Ultimately, Who falls into which category? A key part of this dialogue is how exactly we define different people who move abroad to work.

Clarity and breadth

Let's be honest, this is very much a class issue, most people who consider themselves ‘expats’ are moving away for the experience or to improve the quality of life, however migrants often leave their country of origin to escape poverty. However we should not be viewing migrants in this way, migrants, by definition are people who intend to go and live in a county for a period of time. They then leave the country to go home when they’ve completed their allotted time.

We should not see someone as an expat or immigrant based on origin, skin colour or how much money they have, it’s about the reasoning behind their decision to move abroad to work.

The truth is, we are becoming less divided in regards where we choose to live and travel, thus the more different people from different places we come into contact with. The globalisation of world populus is a good thing, our travel behaviours change and so do our working habits. Were seeing working nomads in which the world is their office, beaches their workstations and bars their watering holes. A more free-flowing, borderless style which should be embraced.

Defining the impact

These new nomads bring change, and that change must be a positive one, there’s still a large divide in the working conditions for instance, a banker in Singapore and a construction worker in Qatar are VASTLY different! The countries working conditions of those building World Cup stadiums for example have been heavily criticized and rightly so.

What we must do is continue to speak up about abuse of this system, help those that are victims of it and help them aspire to a better standard of living. We must also embrace these nomads within our own land, only good can come from this new wave of interesting and unique neighbours.

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