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

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  • 1
    I'd like to add the term migrant worker to this list.
    – gerrit
    Mar 12 '14 at 21:28
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    See also this ELL question
    – gerrit
    Mar 12 '14 at 21:30
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    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
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    Also this english.se question. Mar 13 '14 at 0:46
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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.

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