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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This fascinates me. Why do some people refer to themselves as 'expats' whereas those of another nationality who enter the UK to settle are 'immigrants'?
With a few people skin colour is sadly the main factor but people use it of Poles and other EU citizens in the UK.
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Dictionary definitions (OED) immigrant person who immigrates, who comes as a permanent resident into a country;

expatriate (noun) an expatriated person, from verb to expatriate meaning to expel or remove oneself from one's native country.


As the vast majority of Brits here have not been expelled or have fled (from the law, debt, spouse etc.) but have come here legitimately under the terms of the Single European Act surely the correct term is 'immigrant'?
 

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It comes down to the same thing. It's like saying lift or elevator. They mean the same thing. Expats are immigrants and vice-versa. Some people seem to use the term immigrant for those settling abroad without intention to repatriate while an expat would be temporary abroad for example because of business reasons. IMO there is not really a difference in meaning ; besides there's the grey zone of those whose plans change over the years or just haven't made up their mind weither they'll return home or stay abroad forever. So in my dictionary immigrant and expats would be the same thing really: a person residing in another country than his native country or country of which he holds citizenship (weither or not it's permanently residing there or temporarily)
 

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IMO
from the point of view of the spanish in Spain we are immigrants
from the point of view of brits in England we are expats
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
IMO
from the point of view of the spanish in Spain we are immigrants
from the point of view of brits in England we are expats
I think that sums it up.....but I'm an immigrant:D
Maybe some people imagine that referring to themselves as 'expats' gives them status....you know, as in 'British expat Ronnie Biggs'....;)
 
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I am a Scot living abroad, I dislike both terms used anywhere, when used by British people ( I also dislike the term Brits ) immigrant is used too often most often derogatively meaning Asians Pakistani now Romanian or Polish. Now as much as before I came here I see the term ex pats as equally derogatory as it seems to tar all British people living here temporarily or permanently as the beer drinking bingo playing british food eating loud rude person found it seems mostly on the coast but in other places too. I also heard it used in not nice vain about the " hippy types" living in the mountains. I am none of those types and dislike being associated with them. Snob and who does she think she is I hear, my standards, if you don't like fair enough I may not like yours.

However, I removed myself from my country to England then to Spain not knowing if permament or temporary so going by those dictionary definations I was an expatriate now I am an immigrant.

In the big picture I really don't care. I am a widow, now that I would change if possible but it is not so just get on doing my own thing quietly and not bothering others.

A wee scot abroad
 

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I am a Scot living abroad, I dislike both terms used anywhere, when used by British people ( I also dislike the term Brits ) immigrant is used too often most often derogatively meaning Asians Pakistani now Romanian or Polish. Now as much as before I came here I see the term ex pats as equally derogatory as it seems to tar all British people living here temporarily or permanently as the beer drinking bingo playing british food eating loud rude person found it seems mostly on the coast but in other places too. I also heard it used in not nice vain about the " hippy types" living in the mountains. I am none of those types and dislike being associated with them. Snob and who does she think she is I hear, my standards, if you don't like fair enough I may not like yours.

However, I removed myself from my country to England then to Spain not knowing if permament or temporary so going by those dictionary definations I was an expatriate now I am an immigrant.

In the big picture I really don't care. I am a widow, now that I would change if possible but it is not so just get on doing my own thing quietly and not bothering others.

A wee scot abroad
That's how I see it - I'm English and I'm living in Spain
And, I agree that immigrant is often (wrongly) used by people as a derogatory term.
However, expat to me smacks of British imperialism, superiority, marking people as somehow better than others - not hippies and lager louts, and seen posts on here that have used expat in that way (don't you remember, mryg??:))

As for dictionary definitions, here you go according to Oxford...
Expatriate - person living in a country that is not their own (Nothing about whether they're going back or not...)
immigrant - a person who has come to live permanently in a country that is not their own
Emigrant - Person who leaves their country to live permanently in another
 

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I'm whatever anyone wants to call me!!! I'll be an expat, an immigrant, a guiri, a blonde, a brit........But ultimately I'm me!

Jo xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, PW, I remember that well!
I agree that the term 'immigrant' is far too often used in the derogatory sense, and as Val says, far too often used of Pakistanis and other people of Asian and African origin in the UK. I also am deeply suspicious of the term 'Northern European (remember that , PW?;) ) as it has for me at any rate nasty connotations of Aryan 'superman' types beloved of Nazi racial claptrap.
As for different types of immigrant here...well, Spain is large enough to accommodate all types.. I live on the coast but have seen not a single lager-swilling chav stereotype here in our very quiet area - although I did see a few unwholesome types on a visit to Malaga IKEA once.
Not my taste - but then few people share my tastes and quite a few would think them definitely odd (anyone for Wagner?:)) but as long as I'm left in peace I frankly don't give a toss whether people in certain parts of Spain have tattoos, drink lager, eat pizza etc.
By ascribing vulgarity solely to Brits are we then assuming that there are no loud, vulgar, coarse Spaniards? I remember months ago posting how impressed I was at the absence of obscenity in Spanish everyday speech only to be told by PW that obviously my ear wasn't as yet sufficiently attuned to Spanish! (BTW, thankyou PW for teaching me a Spanish obscenity, such words inevitably have future uses in even the mildest mouth...;))
We should remember the wise words of George Orwell who wrote 'It is not given to one person to have all the vices' and substitute 'nation' for 'person'.
Oh, and as the Spanish say, 'Sobre los gustos no hay disputos'.
 

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Rather than avoiding to use the term "immigrant", I'd say we should try to change the negative undertone of the word. The vast majority of immigrants are well behaved and do make effords to integrate, so I'd happily be associated with fellow expats who happen to come from Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, ... I rather would see Europeans start talking about them with respect rather than pretending there is something negative about immigration.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rather than avoiding to use the term "immigrant", I'd say we should try to change the negative undertone of the word. The vast majority of immigrants are well behaved and do make effords to integrate, so I'd happily be associated with fellow expats who happen to come from Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, ... I rather would see Europeans start talking about them with respect rather than pretending there is something negative about immigration.
That would be great....I've always said that when I hear Pakistanis etc. in the UK referred to as 'expats' I'll stop calling myself an immigrant!:D
 

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I just mentioned this to my kids and my son says, that they learnt about this at school. They were told that its because British are from "great" Britain, a proud nation, and are english speaking. People coming to "Great Britain are coming from not so great countries and therefore arent patriotic of their old countries but are immigrating to a great one!!

Well I didnt say it LOL, but thats what they're teaching in schools and the apparent "official" reason!!!!!!

I'll get me coat



Jo xxxx
 

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I just mentioned this to my kids and my son says, that they learnt about this at school. They were told that its because British are from "great" Britain, a proud nation, and are english speaking. People coming to "Great Britain are coming from not so great countries and therefore arent patriotic of their old countries but are immigrating to a great one!!

Well I didnt say it LOL, but thats what they're teaching in schools and the apparent "official" reason!!!!!!

I'll get me coat



Jo xxxx
are you serious??:eek:

I had this discussion with a group of kids I was teaching English to

they had also been studying the topic at school - apparently I'm not an immigrant because I'm European

but the people from South American countries are - even though they have more in common language-wise, and probably culturally too
 

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I just mentioned this to my kids and my son says, that they learnt about this at school. They were told that its because British are from "great" Britain, a proud nation, and are english speaking. People coming to "Great Britain are coming from not so great countries and therefore arent patriotic of their old countries but are immigrating to a great one!!

Well I didnt say it LOL, but thats what they're teaching in schools and the apparent "official" reason!!!!!!

I'll get me coat



Jo xxxx
That is either very sad
or
very funny!!!:):D:):D
 

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As long as nobody calls me late for breakfast, they can call whatever they like.

I work as a temp in a semi government industry. ( They may or may not deliver mail. Who knows.)
It might be easier to name the nations that are not represented there. Everyone gets on pretty much. There are clicks, there are people who struggle with English. Some who 'put down' others, sadly usually white British. We all rub along.
There is at least one Spaniard, who delights in tying my vocal cords in knots with pronunciation. I enjoy the work, although the 2 years 356 days can't come soon enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
But Spain was a 'great' nation once - opened up the Americas, powerful in Europe.
Until we Brits sorted them out...:;)
 

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I've been thinking about what my son said and what I'm sure is being said, is that those who move to a more developed and freer country for those reasons tend to be called immigrants and those who move "sideways" or to a "lesser developed country", but still love their homeland are expatriots.

That isnt my opinon BTW, I've no idea and dont have any views on the names we may or may not get called!!

Jo xxx
 

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I've been thinking about what my son said and what I'm sure is being said, is that those who move to a more developed and freer country for those reasons tend to be called immigrants and those who move "sideways" or to a "lesser developed country", but still love their homeland are expatriots.

That isnt my opinon BTW, I've no idea and dont have any views on the names we may or may not get called!!

Jo xxx
So basically, following that theory, those of us who moved (partially because) out of dissatisfaction with their native country cannot be called expatriates because the word has an undertone refering to that native country from which the person wishes to disassociate himself?

Ack, why don't we just call ourselves extranjeros like the Spanish government does? :)
 

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So basically, following that theory, those of us who moved (partially because) out of dissatisfaction with their native country cannot be called expatriates because the word has an undertone refering to that native country from which the person wishes to disassociate himself?

Ack, why don't we just call ourselves extranjeros like the Spanish government does? :)

Dunno??? I'll answer to extranjeros!!!!!

Jo xxx
 
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