If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Immigrant? Or “ex-pat?”

  • 06-08-2022 9:30pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭
    Holding tyrants to the fire

    I had the dubious honour of sitting through my drunken brother in law’s lengthy, endless, diatribes against immigrants this evening during dinner.

    From the blacks, to the Chinese, to even the Ukraine refugees with their “square heads and square minds” nobody was safe from his bile. They’re all simultaneously either lazy shysters who would sleep on the floor if there was work in the bed, to cock-eyed super-industrious thieves and scam artists who work tirelessly around the clock to con Irish people and our helpless government.

    The kicker, of course, is that he is an emigrant himself: he has been retired in the South of Spain for the past ten years. When I pointed this out he countered by saying that he and the British emigrés on Costa del Carling aren’t immigrants but simply ex-pats in retirement in the sun.

    He’s not the first person who has deluded himself with this hypocrisy. In my time I’ve met many “ex-pats” who are almost to a man racist, spiteful xenophobes who haven’t worked a real day’s graft in decades (if ever). Most of the British ones voted leave in the Brexit referendum and the rest would do the same if such a vote was arranged in Ireland. To keep the foreigners out.

    I understand that the demographic skews towards the kind of people who would retire to the South of Spain within the next decade or so (namely middle aged taxi drivers from Dublin, the kind of people who were burned by buying Bulgarian apartments blocks during the boom), so let me ask you this: what do you think the difference is between an immigrant and an ex-pat? Virtually every “ex-pat” I have met has been a racist cünt, is that the common denominator? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭yesto24

    And of course none of what you wrote is racist. None of what you wrote paints huge groups of people as one.

    And if any of what you wrote did the above sure its only against white Irish people so that's OK.

    So to save us all time yes anyone who uses expat is racist, we are all racist, homophobic, zenophobic, hypocritical gammons here except you of course.

    Post edited by yesto24 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 42 8 ball pool

    The British made up the phrase "ex pat", because they didn't want to be called an immigrant,what is a person who leaves their country to live and work in another country,they are an immigrant

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭CGI_Livia_Soprano
    Holding tyrants to the fire

  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭yesto24

    Wow that was nearly 7 years ago.

    Not sure what your point is but thanks for the memory.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    Wow and you drew that conclusion from the post….. well at least we know were you stand.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭CGI_Livia_Soprano
    Holding tyrants to the fire

    After slagging off Irish immigrants in Canada himself. The hypocrisy is unreal.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,624 ✭✭✭Montage of Feck

    "In contrast to an immigrant, expatriates maintain the cultural ties such as language of their country of origin—thereby not assimilating. Expatriates usually also do not seek to become citizens of their new country."


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,716 ✭✭✭✭

    The term "ex-pat" originates in Britain. They think they are too good to be called "immigrants" like the migrants of lesser countries.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,599 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    Not sure who sounds worse. You or your brother in law.

    I’d be hitting the bottle too if I had to sit through dinner with either of the pair of you.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Exactly. In my experience, expats believe that at some point that they will return to their own country/culture. Most of those I've heard use the term are professionals with the visas tied to their employment.

    It used to be a term mostly used by westerners, but I've met Indians, and Asians using the term too. Language changes over time, as does those who use it to help adjust to those they hang out with, or work with.

    I understand that the demographic skews towards the kind of people who would retire to the South of Spain within the next decade or so (namely middle aged taxi drivers from Dublin, the kind of people who were burned by buying Bulgarian apartments blocks during the boom), so let me ask you this: what do you think the difference is between an immigrant and an ex-pat? Virtually every “ex-pat” I have met has been a racist cünt, is that the common denominator? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    With that kind of conclusion to your rant, you're not exactly encouraging people to post their thoughts. Every expat you've met is a racist ****. Yup.

    Whereas most expats I've met are normal people, with normal views, and are generally quite tolerant due to their experiences living/working in foreign cultures. They have to be.. because they're there long-term.

    I wouldn't view those moving to the Spanish islands/Spain as being the same as expats around the world. The British and the Spanish have their own particular history, and racist views are common on both sides. You should hear Spanish people talk about the immigration from North Africa.. and you'd probably consider the British rather tame in comparison. Or not.

    I call myself an expat because that's what I'm called in the countries I live in. In Asia it's very common for governments to describe foreigners living long-term there to be expats... so I used the term they use. That's probably due to the heavy American and British influence on English in the region. I don't place any real difference between immigrant and expat. Both have the possibility of settling, and both have the same possibility of finishing their time abroad later returning home again.

    There's no natural connection between expat/migrant and racism. That's entirely due to the person involved, and what they think/say.

  • Advertisement
  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Still immigrants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭CGI_Livia_Soprano
    Holding tyrants to the fire

    It’s very telling that you can’t tell who is worse between a racist and a non-racist (me) because you find my personal demeanour unpalatable.

    For me I find that, as a rule of thumb, the racist person is always worse.

  • Posts: 17,378 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    I'm an expat. Would love to be an immigrant.

    The country I live in has no path to citizenship. Even after 12 years, if I lose my job, I have to leave within weeks. I can't get a mortgage. I can't own land, only apartments. I can only get a credit card if I put 120% of its limit into a term deposit. If I were married and my wife died, I'd have no right to stay, even with kids involved. I can't retire here as there are no retirement visas. I must get married or leave.

    Expat life is transient with no long-term security. It's honestly horrible and I really want out of it and am making plans to do that. Those Brits who had to leave Spain because they didn't sort their residency status out were infact expats, because an immigrant doesn't have to leave a country for whatever reason.

    If anyone wants to call me an immigrant knowing my living situation, they can go to hell. It is incredibly stressful not being able to take a bit of time of work, or decide to study etc. Nigerians, Japanese, Cubans etc. all call themselves expats here because none of us have any right to stay and never ever will.

    To put it more simply, immigrants have it in their mind that their grandchildren will study in that country. Expats don't.

  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭Tornaxx

    Which is worse, a racist or a different type of bigot (you)?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,540 ✭✭✭sgthighway

    If this is true, it is a very good explanation with good examples. I hope it all work out for you. Thanks!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,599 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    If it’s a choice between a ‘racist’ who’s a bit of a giggle and a sanctimonious, self-righteous prig, I’ll have dinner with the former thanks!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,581 ✭✭✭Working class heroes

    Yep, boards is fcuked

    Racism is now hiding behind the cloak of Community activism.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭CGI_Livia_Soprano
    Holding tyrants to the fire

    Genuine question: how could you move to a country with such blatant inequality in the first place? I would never visit a country where people live in such conditions, never mind live there.

  • Posts: 17,378 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Lots of countries don't allow immigration in the way we think of it. Japan etc.

    As for why I did it? By mistake mostly but the visa situation also used to be very different and much easier.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    I think immigrant is a code word for people who go to a country looking for work usually low paid any job eg any job they can get , fast food, cafe, factory, ex pat is usually someone who chooses to move to Spain, America, etc because houses are cheaper there, or they were offered a job there with higher pay or they retire to live i Spain, Italy, because the cost of living is lower, you can buy a nice house for 100k and you can retire and live off your


    Most Irish ex pats live in Spain, the UK, America, France or Australia.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,061 ✭✭✭purplepanda

    My sister lived & worked for 7 years during the 1990's in California & Arizona, she worked in Banking & sometimes as a waitress, she was obviously an illegal immigrant but considered herself an expat, used to socialise, often work with & share accommodation with other expat Irish, English & Scottish, Dutch, Germans, Scandinavians, South Africans, Australians & New Zealanders. Most of these were illegal apart from an odd one married to a USA citizen.

    She would stay at a job for 18 months or maybe even 2 years when the employer would find out that she wasn't entitled to work under US law, so be asked to leave. You easily bought forged employment numbers downtown & identity cards & got another job.

    In addition to the above "Anglosphere" expats, the American migrants from Texas & the southern / mid west states also called themselves expats! They often socialised in the same places & worked in similar positions.

    The illegal immigrants were of course the Mexicans, who obviously didn't look as "American" as the expats mentioned above!

  • Posts: 17,378 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    This is the exact modern definition of expat vs. immigrant.

    Your sister had no intention of living in America for the rest of her life. She had no intention of her grandchildren growing up there. Mexicans in America, whether legal or illegal, plan on staying there forever.

    No amount of pretending that immigrant is a naughty word will change the fact that expat is temporary, just like your sister. An immigrant is not temporary.

    It boggles my mind that people cannot differentiate these two ideas. First or second generation Americans don't talk about how their expat grandparents came to Colorado. They talk about how they emigrated to there.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Mind if I ask where you are?

    I did 13 years in China. I knew beforehand that citizenship for foreigners was extremely rare, and that the same issues applied for residency. Even with marriage of a Chinese national (which I wasn't terribly interested in anyway), there were heaps of limitations and requirements. I lived in China because I loved the culture, and the difference from everything else I'd know before (along with the low cost of living and reasonably good salary). China was never intended by me to be a place to settle forever, and honestly, even if I could, I wouldn't have.

    I'm off to South Korea next, and I see a few years, if not a decade living there. I know that there are more options available (for those with sound finances/savings).. but I'm not really expecting to live there forever. I'll return to Ireland eventually, or find another country which is more favourable towards me settling within it's borders.

    I think that's the point of being an expat. There's never really any expectation of remaining in the host nation forever. Even when marrying a native of that host nation, there is still the expectation that, at some point, you would return home or move to another country later. It's not a life for everyone, and honestly, I suspect we all burn out from it eventually.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'd call that poster's sister an illegal immigrant (not totally clear whether she had no plans to stay permanently in the US - as many illegals from Ireland do).

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,254 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    I've met all walks of life from Ireland living in Spain, not just Dublin taxi drivers. Mostly older people from all over Ireland who prefer the weather. Bit of a chip on your shoulder there OP.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,394 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Immigrant to the country you are in and an ex-pat to the country of origin. It is that simple

    I used to think ex-pat only applied to Irish people as in short for ex-paddy

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 76,850 Mod ✭✭✭✭New Home

    Here are the actual meanings and the origins of the words:


    expat (n.)

    1962, shortening of expatriate (n.).

    Entries linking to expat expatriate (v.)"to banish, send out of one's native country," 1768, modeled on French expatrier "banish" (14c.), from ex- "out of" (see ex-) + patrie "native land," from Latin patria "one's native country," from pater (genitive patris) "father" (see father (n.); also compare patriot). Related: Expatriated; expatriating. The noun is by 1818, "one who has been banished;" main modern sense of "one who chooses to live abroad" is by 1902.


    emigrant (n.)

    "one who quits a country or region to settle in another," 1754, from Latin emigrantem (nominative emigrans), present participle of emigrare "move away" (see emigration). As an adjective in English from 1794.


    immigrant (n.)

    "one who immigrates," 1792, American English, perhaps based on French immigrant, from Latin immigrantem (nominative immigrans), present participle of immigrare "to remove, go into, move in" (see immigrate). Emigrant is older. First used in English in Jeremy Belknap's history of New Hampshire, and he generally is credited with having coined it.

    There is another deviation from the strict letter of the English dictionaries; which is found extremely convenient in our discourses on population. From the verb migro are derived emigrate and IMMIGRATE; with the same propriety as from mergo are derived emerge and IMMERGE. Accordingly the verb IMMIGRATE and the nouns IMMIGRANT and IMMIGRATION are used without scruple in some parts of this volume. [Preface to vol. III of "The History of New Hampshire," Belknap, 1792]

    As an adjective from 1805.

    Post edited by New Home on

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    To be fair, ex pat refers to the senior executive management types. Privately educated. They usually spend a couple of years in a country with the intention of returning home afterwards.

    The Brits didn't call the prisoners "ex pats" when they were shipping them off to Australia back in the day. They were convicts.

    Immigrants, by contrast, is a more broad brush term that refers to anyone who comes to a country to work, who have an open ended plan, no predetermined plans to return.

    Why am I explaining this. We all know the difference, so stop pretending it's hypocrisy when it's just not.

  • Posts: 17,378 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Correct usage of the term.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 42 8 ball pool

    You should tell all the Brits what the phrase means because they seem to struggle with it, you could hardly describe convicts being move to the other side of the planet as immigrants