Expats or immigrants in Spain: Is there a difference?

If you’re a foreigner living in Spain, does that make you an expat? Or an immigrant?

The subject is a touchy one, and it’s close to impossible to please everyone.

Whenever The Local runs a story about for example, how Brexit is affecting the life of Brits resident in Spain, the use of the word “expat” prompts a fierce debate.

Some readers comment on Facebook that we should change the offending word to “immigrants” – because that’s exactly what all are.

“I’m a proud European who used my right to move country and not an ‘expat’,” said Martin Cooper. “It totally sends the wrong message to our citizens in our new country and to our old homeland.”

Elaine Jacobs added: “There is something wrong with the word “ex-pats”. It reeks of British colonialism, rather than movement.”

Some said using the term expat “contributed to a dangerous populist rhetoric” for our choice of words on the matter.

Gemma Middleton summed it up in a recent article about a documentary she is making on what Brits think about Brexit.

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