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An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex ("out of") and patria ("country, fatherland").
In common usage, the term is often used in the context of professionals or skilled workers sent abroad by their companies.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Americans, numbering perhaps in the thousands, were drawn to European cultural centers, especially Munich and Paris. The author Henry James, for instance, adopted England as his home, while Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris.
The term "expatriate" in some countries also has a legal context used for tax purposes, meaning someone who does not have tax residence in the country they are living. An expatriate living in a country can receive a favourable tax treatment – they are still subject to taxation, but not in the same way as tax residents. For example, in Japan for the first five years of residency one is a non-permanent resident for tax purposes, and thus subject only to tax on Japan-source income, not worldwide income (such as bank interest or investment gains in one's home country). Rules and the number of years can vary per tax jurisdiction, but 5 years is the most commonly used maximum period.
"Expatriation" may sometimes be used to mean exile or denaturalization or renunciation of allegiance. The U.S. Expatriation Act of 1868 said in its preamble, 'the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Early Nazi Germany deprived many opponents of their citizenship, such as Albert Einstein, Oskar Maria Graf, Willy Brandt and Thomas Mann, often expatriating entire families.
Trends in expatriation
Global markets at the end of the 20th century created a different type of expatriate where commuter and short-term assignments are becoming more common and often used by organizations to supplement traditional expatriation.
Where the initiative for expatriation does not come from employers but originates from individuals, management researchers describe this as self-initiated expatriation (SIE). There is also the different phenomenon of expatriate executives who are appointed by local companies in distant countries rather than being posted there by foreign multinational corporations. Some local companies in emerging markets, for example, have recently hired a number of Western managers.
The continuing shift in expatriates has often been difficult to measure and available figures often include economic migrants. According to UN statistics, more than 232 million people, that is 3.2% of the world population, live outside of their home country in 2013.
In terms of influx of expatriates, among the most popular expatriate destinations are for several years Germany, Belgium, France, Spain and Russia in Europe, Canada and the USA in North America, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as South Africa which is the most popular expat destination in Africa.
In Dubai the population is predominantly composed of foreign passport holders, primarily migrants from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines and expatriates from the Western world, with only 20% of the population made up of citizens. Singapore has a large number of expatriates as well, and almost 40% of the inhabitants of this metropolitan city are foreign-born workers, professionals or students.
Expatriates generally qualify for and enjoy access to a wide range of financial advantages, ranging from a wide variety of financial products, investing offshore or tax benefits either in their home country or the place of residence.
Human resource management of expatriate employees
The increase in global mobility requires additional attention from human resource departments. The salary of internationally assigned personnel often consists of standard salary and monetary benefits such as cost of living and/or hardship/Quality-of-Living allowances supported by non-monetary incentives such as health care, education expenses, and housing. Some companies will completely cover the cost of expatriate children's education, even at relatively expensive international schools, while other, usually smaller companies, encourage families to find local schooling options. There are three approaches used by organizations to decide what benefits to give their expat. These approaches are destination based, balance sheet approach, or the international headquarters approach.
Given that one of the primary reasons for early repatriation is attributed to a spouse or other family member's inability to adjust, international corporations often have a company-wide policy and coaching system that includes spouses at an earlier stage in the decision-making process.
There are several advantages and disadvantages of using expatriate employees to staff international company subsidiaries. Advantages include permitting closer control and coordination of international subsidiaries and providing a broader global perspective. Disadvantages include high transfer costs, the possibility of encountering local government restrictions, and possibly creating a problem of adaptability to foreign environments.
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