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Expat or Immigrant?

I´m just a Russian poof

flaneur
post 9.Oct.2017, 08:11 AM
Post #1
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 19.Aug.2017

Ok, so I've been thinking about this, especially while reading other posters' messages on this forum and also while meeting new people who aren't locals.

What is an actual difference between an expat and an immigrant?

The term expat is often used to describe highly educated professionals who move abroad to work.
But what is a foreign worker then?
Or why is a person who moves abroad to work as a, let's say, doctor called an immigrant?

Is it about the country a specific person comes from? Or is it about the race?

So, for example:

1. A person from France moves to Sweden to work as a lawyer.
2. A person from France moves to Sweden to work as a toilet cleaner.
3. A person from Somalia moves to Sweden to work as a doctor.
4. A person from Somalia moves to Sweden to work as a construction worker.
5. A black person from USA moves to Sweden to work as a scientist.
6. A white person from USA moves to Sweden to work as a plumber.

Who out of these are expats / immigrants?

Personally, I don't care about the label itself, but this classification matters, because such language can in some cases be used as a political tool or to dehumanise certain persons.

Please, elaborate.
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mjennin2
post 9.Oct.2017, 08:29 AM
Post #2
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 8.Mar.2010

The dictionary is a useful tool in this case.

Expatriate
noun
noun: expatriate; plural noun: expatriates
ɪksˈpatrɪət,ɪksˈpeɪtrɪət,ɛksˈpatrɪət,ɛksˈpeɪ
trɪət/Submit
1. A person who lives outside their native country.
synonyms: emigrant, non-native, émigré, migrant, economic migrant, guest worker;

immigrant
ˈɪmɪɡr(ə)nt/Submit
noun
noun: immigrant; plural noun: immigrants
1. A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.
synonyms: newcomer, settler, incomer, new arrival, migrant, emigrant;

You can be both at the same time. The only difference is that an immigrant intends to stay permanently whereas an expat's residency duration away from home is unclear / uncertain.
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flaneur
post 9.Oct.2017, 08:34 AM
Post #3
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 19.Aug.2017

Hi!

Thanks!

I had checked up on that before posting this thread but I'm sure that nobody from the UK, USA or France would ever be called "an immigrant" even if they intend to stay here forever (fact!).

Does that mean that "an immigrant" is a degrading term?
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mjennin2
post 9.Oct.2017, 08:47 AM
Post #4
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 8.Mar.2010

I'm from the US. I am an immigrant in Sweden. I don't feel bad about it.

It just depends on what you associate the term with. Coming from the US, we are *all* immigrants. My grandparents were immigrants in the US from Germany and Austria. They came to America to escape the war and started with nothing; had to build up their lives from nothing and deal with the stigma of being German in a world that hated Germany at the time. So ya, perhaps they wished they weren't viewed as outsiders in those early years, when life was tough enough as it is.

But there is of course the segment of immigrants who didn't move to escape anything, or to rebuild and start over. There's much less trauma there; life is still difficult at times, but it's a first world choice and you can get by in life anonymously if you choose.

So... it just depends on your own bias or experience with the term. I am an immigrant in Sweden and don't think anything of it.
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flaneur
post 9.Oct.2017, 08:51 AM
Post #5
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 19.Aug.2017

I'm from Russia and I'm also an immigrant, even though I have no intention of staying here forever (I would rather kill myself).

But I have heard many of my Swedish friends using the term "immigrant" in a degrading way for people who moved here from undeveloped (third World) countries who are, in most cases, more educated than people coming from EU, who are, by the way, never referred to as "immigrants".

I have never read that a group of expats committed a crime in central Stockholm.

I don't think it should be a degrading term, but it is used in such a way.
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BhuBhuKaZoo
post 9.Oct.2017, 09:08 AM
Post #6
Location: Uppsala
Joined: 29.Jun.2017

QUOTE (flaneur @ 9.Oct.2017, 09:34 AM) *
Hi!Thanks! I had checked up on that before posting this thread but I'm sure that nobody from the UK, USA or France would ever be called "an immigrant" ev ... (show full quote)


This is a great question (your original one in particular) - with many political connotations.

Personally, I believe that the meanings for both have been adjusted to have specific meanings to the type of migrant. So for a first-world immigrant, someone say from the U.S., France, UK, Germany - they would be considered an exPat. In particular, I always hear UK citizens who move abroad as exPats. Why? I believe that the reason is fairly simple and is actually described in the reply to you Flaneur - they have money (or are considered to have it). They come from a society and country that is economically developed and so can afford to come into whatever society they move into. It's an assumption but its what we believe. We don't truly know the exPats circumstances before moving but we all think, yeah - they can afford to live here.

An immigrant however is someone that comes from a country that is either developing or not quite at the standard of the country they have moved to. Making generalisations now - someone from India moving to Germany or Mexico to France. Although we know nothing about those particular peoples backgrounds - perhaps their family are wealthy or they have a connection with that country in their family - if you are from somewhere outside of the economic power houses, you are an immigrant.

We assume (importantly) that they are under-privlaged. They are fleeing from somewhere and that they are trying for a better life. This may and probably is true for many but...it could also be said for exPats. Fundamentally, both are leaving for more opportunities in a foreign land. There should be no difference.

And I would say - 100% it is a negative word. It shouldn't be. I am an immigrant (from the UK). Im not ashamed of that, but in this day an age, the word is used as a byword for someone that "does not share the same values" or "doesn't fit in with my social standard".

It's a shame but it is what it is.
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flaneur
post 9.Oct.2017, 09:20 AM
Post #7
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 19.Aug.2017

QUOTE (BhuBhuKaZoo @ 9.Oct.2017, 10:08 AM) *
We assume (importantly) that they are under-privlaged. They are fleeing from somewhere and that they are trying for a better life. This may and probably is true for many but.. ... (show full quote)


This! Exactly!

It feels very absurd to allude on someone's ethnical background while using the term "immigrant".
It just shows that people still have prejudices when it comes to other people's origins.

For example, I am gay. Russia is everything but gay-friendly, but my parents are totally fine with that. They even wanted to meet my Swedish boyfriend, which they did. But my boyfriend's parents are refusing to accept the fact that he is gay. They are Swedish.

But if he says that he's a gay person from Sweden, people will automatically assume that he's living a happy life.

Who knows how many cases like him are out there, but nobody talks about it because we assume that Sweden is open-minded. It is open-minded as a country, but its residents are not as open-minded, organized and well-established.

It's a bit off topic, but it's relatable.
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Bsmith
post 9.Oct.2017, 11:42 AM
Post #8
Joined: 25.Jun.2009

There's immigrants: people who move to another country for a specific reason such as a job, or for love or to escape a bad situation.

Then there's gimmigrants: people who move to another country for the handouts.
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rex
post 9.Oct.2017, 01:45 PM
Post #9
Joined: 3.Jul.2017

It's mostly a cultural distinction. In the eye of the law, there are no expats, if you come from country A to live and work in country B then you're an immigrant in that country. So, in your example they are all immigrants in the eye of the law. Except perhaps certain classes of international students, they might not be counted toward the immigrant quota because they are obliged to leave the country as soon as their studies as finished, although the law changes all the time, so this might not be true today. Basically, if you're given a legal path toward citizenship then you're an immigrant, whether you like it or not.

Usually expats are the people who move from one "more" developed country to another to work and live there, but they do not intend to adopt partially or fully the local culture and language, or live for long periods of time in the host country. For example, many Americans and Brits living in Sweden call themselves expats even though they fully qualify as immigrants, and many do end up with Swedish passports. They perceive their own culture as equal or superior to the Swedish one so they don't see themselves as "immigrants".

Another problem with the word immigrant has been caused by the media, which now equals all foreign borns and even their children born in Sweden as "migrants". Even though there is a clear distinction between economic immigrants, seasonal workers, international or exchange students, highly skilled workers, asylum seekers, war refugees, family reunion immigrants, etc. This is nothing more than an attempt to separate the Swedes from the non-Swedes and blame the latter for everything that's wrong in the country today. A modern form of a sacrificial lamb.
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intrepidfox
post 9.Oct.2017, 02:23 PM
Post #10
Location: Gothenburg
Joined: 18.Jul.2012

Lived here almost 30 years. Another word to use is a foreigner which i will always be and am actually proud to be. I have never wanted to change my citizenship. I was born in England and will always be English.
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flaneur
post 9.Oct.2017, 02:26 PM
Post #11
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 19.Aug.2017

QUOTE (intrepidfox @ 9.Oct.2017, 03:23 PM) *
Lived here almost 30 years. Another word to use is a foreigner which i will always be and am actually proud to be. I have never wanted to change my citizenship. I was born in ... (show full quote)


Then again, your English is as good as H&M fashion line. smile.gif
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rex
post 9.Oct.2017, 02:35 PM
Post #12
Joined: 3.Jul.2017

QUOTE (flaneur @ 9.Oct.2017, 03:26 PM) *
Then again, your English is as good as H&M fashion line. smile.gif


flaneur, SPb or gtfo?
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flaneur
post 9.Oct.2017, 02:37 PM
Post #13
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 19.Aug.2017

QUOTE (rex @ 9.Oct.2017, 03:35 PM) *
flaneur, SPb or gtfo?

Honey, I know you saw my pic and you liked me badly, so here - I noticed you. smile.gif
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 9.Oct.2017, 04:39 PM
Post #14
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

Another problem caused by believing in micro aggression...
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rex
post 9.Oct.2017, 04:40 PM
Post #15
Joined: 3.Jul.2017

QUOTE (flaneur @ 9.Oct.2017, 03:37 PM) *
Honey, I know you saw my pic and you liked me badly, so here - I noticed you. smile.gif


omg you're worse than my ex, he was such a queen...
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