When you live and work overseas, one of the terms you may hear people call themselves is an ex-pat. Some people consider this term a bit confusing and do not understand its meaning.
An ex-pat is an individual who goes overseas to work in a foreign country for a specific period. An ex-pat will remain a citizen of their home country; they have no intention to become citizens of the country where they are presently living. An immigrant, on the other, goes to another country to permanently live there and not return to their home country.
What Is An Ex-pat?
An ex-pat, also known as an expatriate, usually goes overseas to a foreign country to work there for a specific period. The word ex-pat refers to educated professionals, skilled workers, and artists taking up positions outside their home country either independently or sent abroad by their employers.
Sometimes the term expatriate has been used to refer to anyone who chooses to live outside their own native country. The word ex-pat and expatriate mean the same thing.
The word expatriate comes from the Latin term ex, which means out of, and Patria, which means native country or fatherland. So literally, the word ex-pat means out of your motherland or fatherland.
An ex-pat will maintain their cultural ties to their own country. They will keep the passport of their own country and will not become a citizen of their new country.
There is no census’ or record keeping to keep track of how many ex-pats there are around the world; in fact, most embassies around the world would not know which of their citizens are living overseas unless the citizens register with them or tell them.
Because of this, it is tough to determine precisely how many ex-pats there are. The United Nations estimated that about 232 million people live outside their home country or 3.2% of the world’s population.
But not all of these will be strictly considered ex-pats or foreign experts living and working overseas or away from their own countries. Some people have estimated the number of actual ex-pats to be about 67 million.
There are many reasons why somebody might choose to live and work in a foreign country or in a branch officer subsidy of the company they are working for. Some of the primary reasons people pursue international careers can be the experience of living overseas, the responsibility they will receive overseas, the nature of the global environment, and what they will learn by being an ex-pat.
Being an ex-pat is not always easy. Often, the spouse of ex-pats has trouble adjusting to living overseas due to culture shock or loss of their social network. The children have difficulty coping in a new school and environment. Some ex-pats find the living conditions or the food they are positioned to be extremely difficult to tolerate.
Not everyone can be a successful ex-pat. A term known as ex-pat failure has been coined to define an employee who returns home prematurely to their home country or is reassigned because they could not handle their life and work overseas.
It is estimated that about 7% of all ex-pats may return early, but this figure does not include those who performed poorly or, while on assignment, they resigned from the company.
So that percentage could be much higher. From my personal experience, those ex-pats that I have seen that have failed or returned home early are usually due to a family or a personal issue. For some of them, their spouses or children were just not able to handle life overseas. For others, the couples got divorced overseas, so the family left.
When an ex-pat may become an immigrant, they meet someone in their foreign country, get married, and decide to raise their family there. When this happens, this individual may become more of an immigrant than an ex-pat as they plan to spend their lives in their new country.
What Is An Immigrant?
An immigrant is not the same as an ex-pat. An immigrant usually goes overseas to become a citizen of their new country. They have no plans to return to their old country and usually give up the passport and citizenship of their own country to gain citizenship in the new government.
This is very different from an ex-pat, where an ex-pat is usually somebody living in another country for a certain period. An immigrant is a person who has plans to stay in the country for the rest of their life without any intention ever to move back to their home country.
Once a person has immigrated to their new country and becomes a citizen of that new country, they will be considered a local citizen. This is very different from an ex-pat who is only temporarily in a new country and is regarded as a foreign hire.
This is the main reason why somebody who is temporarily living and working overseas will call themselves an ex-pat and not an immigrant.
An immigrant is only a term used for somebody who plans to gain citizenship of the country where they live and permanently make their home there. An ex-pat has no intention to do this and, in most cases, would not be able to due to laws or even corporate business policies.
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What Is The Difference Between A Foreigner, Immigrant, and Ex-pat?
A foreigner was born in or from a country other than their own. An immigrant is someone from another country who plans to live in a country other than their own country permanently. An ex-pat or expatriate lives and works in a country other than their own country. Both an immigrant and ex-pat are usually considered foreigners.
By clicking here, you can discover What Is The Difference Between A Foreigner, Immigrant, and Ex-pat?.
8 Main Reasons To Become An Ex-pat And Live Overseas
The main 8 reasons to become an ex-pat are 1) a sense of adventure, 2) experiencing other cultures, 3) it is a lavish lifestyle. 4) open your eyes to the world. 5) can find a great community, 6) can help develop your career, 7) there will be opportunities you will not get otherwise, and 8) it has become easier to be an ex-pat.
To learn more, you can read our blog on 8 Main Reasons To Become An Ex-pat And Live Overseas by clicking here.