Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Expats or economic migrants

Expats or economic migrants

This is a slightly different post, it is my fist post on the Telegraph website (English newspaper) and you can find the link here,

It is not intended to offend anybody but simply an alternative view, whilst I have been reflecting on the humanitarian crisis happening in Europe in 2015

Expat or economic migrant

There has been so much on the media recently about the migrant crisis and this has got me thinking about our situation.

Obviously we are not migrants we are ex pats, we are nothing like those people who come to other countries with nothing and want everything.

We can never be compared

Or can we?

What does the term ex pat actually mean other than a nice way of saying that we have left our home country to move to another, The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).

But this is how most of us refer to ourselves, its nice, its friendly, sort of middle class (as most of us are) and it gives us a commonality.

But what about economic migrants, this is not as nice or friendly sounding, yet this means, a person who travels from one country or area to another in order to improve their standard of living.

Are we not economic migrants?

Personally we had a nice life in the UK but it was hard work, when we moved to France we had a much better standard of living, better health care, cheaper housing, the sort of life we could not have in the UK.

But again we are still better than those people we see on the TV

Or are we?

We moved to France to buy a cheap property, which we did, the property was a derelict eyesore in a pretty village, we renovated and the town was happy, we sold it and we were happy.

We made the effort to speak the language and learn the customs of the area we moved too, we contributed to the economy and bought (almost) everything we ever used in France, some things we already had and some things we missed too much from the UK.

But not everybody that makes this move, does it this way.

So many people move to another country and just seek out other ex pats (economic migrants) they stick together and do not learn the language, make no effort to integrate and buy everything from their own country and ship it over, many complain abut the ‘French’ and the bad way of doing things here, how they should be more like the UK.

No they shouldn’t, they are French and you are in France!

So many people do as we did and buy a cheap house to renovate and then sell it out of the price range of the local population or buy a village house and use it as a holiday home for a couple of weeks a year and then complain that the village shop has closed, it will close if people no longer live in the village!

How do the people in France (or any other country) really feel about us? we buy the cheap houses, we take jobs from the locals, we still talk English, we build our own small communities, we turn small villages in to ghost towns with our holiday homes, we continue to bring all we need from our own county, even food!

But as I said we are nothing like the migrants on the TV, who will try to bring their own customs and ways of life to their new country, we are ex pats!

And we can always go home if we don’t like it.

Obviously this does not refer to all expats

The humanitarian crisis has really upset me, watching babies, families and children being washed up on the beaches and arriving with no food or warmth, I have set up a funding page to assist, the link is here,

If you feel able please donate, any amount, even 1 UK pound, 1 dollar or 1 euro will make a difference or share the  post on facebook and twitter so other people can see it

Thank you normal service will be resumed tomorrow


  1. Hi,
    As one who has moved twice to other countries (and back) I would say there are three distinct groups.

    Ex-pats are migrants but often move for non-economic reasons (climate, lifestyle, relatives etc)
    Economic migrants - those who move deliberately to obtain economic gains either by work or benefits that they cannot obtain in their homeland. They can be further divided into legal and illegal migrants
    Refugees - those who have virtually no choice but to escape from war or natural disasters.

    Refugees deserve our help & support and probably want to go home one day, the other two groups should assimilate and work, France is very good at ensuring this happens; the UK (and the US) are not.

    Just my opinion


    1. Hi David, I am hoping France remains good, but we have come across so many that do not integrate into the local or wider community, hopefully they will remain the minority

  2. Hi, I pretty much agree with both you and David. I arrived in France, convinced that I could speak French, unfortunately not true, being young and full of confidence I learnt the language, made friends had 3 children and became 100% fully integrated into the societe. Maybe, integration at an older age takes a lot more courage, as does speaking a foreign language and so living in an expat community gives a feeling of security. It's a shame to miss out on the wonderful French way of life though.

  3. Hi Tanya, that is so true, so many people move and avoid the french way of life, we had virtually no french when we moved and had to learn the basics quickly (which is harder as you get older) but not impossible. I am still not fluent, but I can have conversations and know enough to work. Fear is a big factor, I believe, but not insurmountable, I admire your courage, but with youth it isn't as daunting, but it sounds like you have a great life here