In general terms, an expatriate – commonly shortened to expat – is someone living in a country different to the one in which they were brought up. Generally the period of residency will be long-term to permanent.
In business terms, expatriates are employees send to work abroad for long periods of time. This may include employees sent to populate a new office or senior managers sent abroad to manage or set up a new location
Expatriates often congregate in expat communities, which are self-contained groups that meet, socialise and live in either a formal (gated communities) or informal (regular meet-ups) environment.
Expatriate employees often receive additional benefits, such as cost of living and hardship allowances as well as housing or education. In some cases the company will pay for the education of the expat’s children. Most companies do not pay for loss of earnings for the employee’s spouse but may help them access jobs and benefits in the new local area.
Specialist relocation companies exist to help companies successfully migrate employees abroad. The service these companies provide varies from logistical support, such as moving belongings, to long-term assistance in culture alignment, language acquisition and engagement.