Are the words expatriate and immigrant synonymous to each other? If not, where lies the distinction between the two?

  • 1
    I'd like to add the term migrant worker to this list.
    – gerrit
    Mar 12 '14 at 21:28
  • 1
    See also this ELL question
    – gerrit
    Mar 12 '14 at 21:30
  • 6
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the definitions of words, and easily answered by any dictionary.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 12 '14 at 21:39
  • 1
    Also this english.se question. Mar 13 '14 at 0:46

Immigration is usually permanent, or at least for an undetermined time. An expatriate may be temporary.

I'd consider that:

  • A migrant worker is anyone who is living and working abroad, usually temporarily, often from a poor country working in a richer country. The move is often economically motivated.
  • An expatriate is more or less the same as a migrant worker, but may include pensioners living abroad, and has a different socio-economic context, as it's often used to describe people from rich countries living and working in either poor or rich countries. The move may or may not be economically motivated.
  • An immigrant is anyone who moved to another country permanently or for an indeterminate amount of time. This includes a subset of migrant workers and a subset of expats.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.