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Retirees living abroad are not expats? So what are they?


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I've been using the phrase RETIRED EXPATS to describe the foreign retirees living in Thailand. But before I did realize the word expat is generally understood internationally to refer to a different kind of foreigner abroad than retirees.

 

This article provides a useful definition of expat. Retirees abroad really don't make the cut.

 

So what are they? What's a better word or phrase? It occurs to me it makes a difference if you're of the class of retirees motivated to live abroad in "lower cost nations" largely for economic reasons. (In my opinion that's the majority of them.) By moving abroad being able to afford to retire at all or motivated by being able to enjoy a higher quality of life abroad than at home.

 

Is that not a variation of being a kind of economic refugee (without images of boat people)? 

 

Well, here's the article. Feel welcome to digest it and comment.
 

Quote

 

‘Expat’ and the Fraught Language of Migration

...

As Europe and the United States debate whether and how much to welcome newcomers, many of their own citizens are also on the move—with, for example, 9 million Americans and more than 5 million Britons living outside their country of origin. And there’s still another word that can describe that kind of movement: expatriate or “expat.”

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/10/expat-immigrant/570967/

 

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I disagree with the definitions, I think a person who works overseas for a limited period of time and then returns home is a secondee, someone who is seconded, that is not to say that person cannot be an expat also.

 

As for retirees not being expats: I don't believe that work is a key element of being an expat although the intention to return home at some point might be.

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They are essentially immigrants on a short-term renewable visa, that is subject to change at the whim of a politician. When I hear the word expat I think of someone who works in a foreign country, but ultimately will return to their original homeland. 

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As said in a similar thread elsewhere re: "expat" vs "immigrant" and who is defined as each-- I see an expat as someone who still has ties to their former country-- receives benefits, employed by a company from their former country, etc. even if they don't plan to move back.  An immigrant comes more permanently in that they cut off most ties and may not even ever go back to visit.  (Retention of citizenship is a gray area, but certainly taking up the new citizenship, or taking steps toward same, would suggest "immigrant" in my book.)

 

I would see "migrant workers" as very temporary indeed, coming for a short-term temporary job and then returning to their home country, with the implication that they are doing so because opportunities are better than in their home country (whether as far as pay, or experiences).

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Immigrant - a person who comes to live permanently in another country, not a person who is granted residency one year at a time and is not allowed to become resident.

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I have been referring to them as "economic refugees" for a long time now. 

 

The idea of expatriates always held an aura of adventure, and curiousity, people who are open-minded interested in a different culture.

 

The new refugees tend to complain abt anything unfamiliar - the expatriates embrace it.. 

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Expat - Expatriate

 

Someone who temporarily or permanently resides in a country other than that of their origin.

 

I sum this up as someone outside of their own country long enough not to pay tax there (though this fits Brits and other nationalities but may not fit others such as citizens from the US).

 

This kind of overlaps with ‘Immigrant’ which has more permanent connotation.

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4 hours ago, Jingthing said:

But before I did realize the word expat is generally understood internationally to refer to a different kind of foreigner abroad than retirees.

 

This article provides a useful definition of expat. Retirees abroad really don't make the cut.

 I wouldn't be all that sold on what they have dished up but I digress .... 

 

The article is trying to equate the modern meanings of expat with migrant or immigrant. There is an agenda behind doing that by the way.

However, to backtrack

 

I worked overseas in the 80's. At that time, it was common to denote expats as "working expats" they had a job. That was the old definition of expat. Retirees were "retirees" there weren't that many of them back in those days.

 

Today if you are a retiree living in another country than you hold a passport for you get lumped as an expat. The language has changed.

However Expat is different than migrant as used today because migrant is used to define people who migrate permanently for work and do not hold a passport and or visa. More importantly they do not have the money to support themselves, initially

Expats are expected to either have a job that the government allows/sanctions or have the money to support themselves. Migrants on the other hand likely have neither. Nor do they just leave if you non renew their visa. They likely do not have a visa and our trying to claim citizenship in a country. Also instead of supporting themselves in many cases they will receive government money for house, food, schooling and medical from the government of whatever country they’re living in.

 

In short they don’t have 800K in bank or pension and if you non renew their visa they do not all go home ….. so there is a difference between Migrant and expat, no matter what The Atlantic argues ….. its an op/ed piece and can be lumped as the liberal version of alternative news sic

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If still paying taxes to your home country. Maintain bank accounts in your home country. I don't feel your really an ex-anything. 

 Just a former resident on extended leave.

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I'd like people to consider the point I made before about the large class of westerners that is choosing to retire abroad because if they didn't, they could not afford to retire in their home countries AT ALL. Or perhaps they could but without any dignity or affordable pleasures. Expat has kind of a glamorous connotation. Moving abroad because of harsh economic realities might be an adventure, but it's not what most people think of as glamorous. It think we need a new word. Again, I think this class is a variation of economic refugee. But because this class is mostly white and mostly from "rich" nations, people are programmed to use the rich white people's word -- EXPAT. 

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9 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

I'd like people to consider the point I made before about the large class of westerners that is choosing to retire abroad because if they didn't, they could not afford to retire in their home countries AT ALL. Or perhaps they could but without any dignity or affordable pleasures. Expat has kind of a glamorous connotation. Moving abroad because of harsh economic realities might be an adventure, but it's not what most people think of as glamorous. It think we need a new word. Again, I think this class is a variation of economic refugee. But because this class is mostly white and mostly from "rich" nations, people are programmed to use the rich white people's word -- EXPAT. 

"Economic refugee" is a worthless term. First of all a refugee must fit a very specific criteria to be considered a refugee and as far as I know economics has nothing to do with it. Second of all retirees on a low budget who would wish to live abroad to maximize that budget have no international legal protections and are subject to the same immigration laws as those who have nuch more money. It's a lifestyle choice.

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I thought about this for a few minutes and now think a flavor of economic MIGRANT fits better than economic refugee. But that phrase doesn't exactly flow off the tongue like the word expat either. I still think we need a new word. A more typical economic migrant moves to find work to make a better life. Retired economic migrants move to places where their limited spending levels affords them a better life. 

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Just now, Jingthing said:

I thought about this for a few minutes and now think a flavor of economic MIGRANT fits better than economic refugee. But that phrase doesn't exactly flow off the tongue like expat. I still think we need a new word. 

farang works for me

 

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3 hours ago, habanero said:

If still paying taxes to your home country. Maintain bank accounts in your home country. I don't feel your really an ex-anything. 

 Just a former resident on extended leave.

Whilst I don't have any bank accounts in the UK any more I do pay taxes there.

 

Why? Because I have no choice in the matter.

 

Why am I living in Thailand?

 

Because I have a Thai wife and son, and it is a damn sight warmer than the UK.

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9 hours ago, Rhys said:

P tang hunters...

yep !  P tang hunters when young.........bitter old men posting on TV when their old

OR.... in their homeland:

  P tang hunters returning home emptyhanded 

  and bitter old men in front of the TV  after divorce

 

please: no responses telling me what a cynical sorry old fart i must be.  its just in fun boys

 

 

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To be clear, I am not only talking about retired economic migrants in Thailand. There are many other lower cost nations that attract them. The visa programs are different in each possible destination country as well. Some of them actually offer easy paths to permanent residence and even citizenship. Of course Thailand doesn't but I do think a foreigner retiring abroad that actually becomes a citizen of the new country has graduated to another label. 

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Just now, Jingthing said:

To be clear, I am not only talking about retired economic migrants in Thailand. There are many other lower cost nations that attract them. The visa programs are different in each possible destination country as well. Some of them actually offer easy paths to permanent residence and even citizenship. Of course Thailand doesn't I do think a foreigner retiring abroad that actually becomes a citizen of the new country has graduated to another label. 

he/she has graduated to the level we demand of our immigrants. CITIZEN

 

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Might I suggest, “Poor, lonely, unsuccessful, uncultured, old, white, temporary, invaders of third world countries.”  or perhaps “White trash aliens.”

 

I hate being lumped in with this lot, under the term expat, as I came here much younger and have stayed much longer.  I will never return to my country of origin but I still have a passport and file taxes.  So many of the labels or boxes of the past are no longer valid in this fluid world we presently find ourselves in.

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