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Inpatriate vs. Expatriate: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
An inpatriate is an employee brought into a country to work for their organization's local operations, whereas an expatriate is an individual who lives and works outside their native country.
Inpatriate vs. Expatriate

Key Differences

Inpatriates are employees of a multinational company who are transferred from a subsidiary to the corporation's headquarters, often for skills enhancement or strategic purposes. In contrast, expatriates are individuals who live and work outside their home country, which can be for various reasons including employment, lifestyle, or personal choice.
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Dec 09, 2023
The role of an inpatriate typically involves bringing specific knowledge or skills to the headquarters, enhancing global integration within the company. On the other hand, an expatriate may be working abroad to bring their expertise to a foreign branch of their company or to engage in work unrelated to their home country.
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Inpatriation is often part of a company's internal global mobility strategy, aimed at developing a diverse leadership team and fostering a global corporate culture. Expatriation, however, can be either company-driven or self-initiated, and is not always tied to internal corporate strategy.
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Inpatriates, while working in the headquarters, are expected to also understand and represent the interests of their home countries or regions within the organization. Expatriates, conversely, often adapt to and integrate into the culture of the host country, while maintaining connections with their homeland.
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The process of inpatriation often includes challenges related to cultural adaptation and understanding corporate culture at the headquarters. Expatriates face a different set of challenges, such as adjusting to a new culture, language barriers, and sometimes, work authorization issues in the host country.
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Comparison Chart

Direction of Movement

From subsidiary to headquarters
From home country to a foreign country
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Purpose

To bring specific skills to headquarters, global integration
Work assignment, lifestyle, personal choice
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Role in Company

Part of global mobility strategy, diverse leadership
May be part of a company’s international operations or personal career move
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Cultural Integration

Understanding corporate culture, representing home country
Adapting to the culture of the host country
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Common Challenges

Cultural adaptation, corporate culture understanding
Cultural adjustment, language, work authorization
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Inpatriate and Expatriate Definitions

Inpatriate

An individual relocating to the headquarters of a multinational company for a specific role.
The inpatriate was tasked with implementing new technology practices from their home office.
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Expatriate

An individual living abroad for personal, lifestyle, or employment reasons.
As an expatriate in Japan, he embraced the local culture while maintaining ties to his homeland.
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Inpatriate

An employee transferred from a foreign subsidiary to the corporation's headquarters.
The inpatriate from the Brazilian office brought valuable insights to the U.S. headquarters.
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Expatriate

A professional assigned to work in a country different from their home country.
As an expatriate, her role was to share her expertise with the local team.
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Inpatriate

A worker brought into a country to work within their organization’s local operations.
As an inpatriate, she played a key role in aligning the company's international strategies.
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Expatriate

An employee working in a foreign branch of their company.
The expatriate was sent to the London office to lead the project.
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Inpatriate

A corporate transfer aimed at enhancing global integration within a company.
The inpatriate’s experience was crucial for the global marketing campaign.
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Expatriate

To send into exile
They were expatriated because of their political beliefs.
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Inpatriate

An employee representing their country or region in the company’s main office.
As an inpatriate, he contributed to the multicultural diversity of the team.
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Expatriate

To remove (oneself) from residence in one's native land.
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Inpatriate

(business) An employee of a multinational company who is from a foreign country, but is transferred from a foreign subsidiary to the corporation’s headquarters
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Expatriate

To give up residence in one's homeland.
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Inpatriate

Of or relating to people who are inpatriates, or to inpatriation.
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Expatriate

To renounce allegiance to one's homeland.
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Expatriate

One who has taken up residence in a foreign country.
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Expatriate

One who has renounced one's native land.
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Expatriate

Residing in a foreign country; expatriated
"She delighted in the bohemian freedom enjoyed by the expatriate artists, writers, and performers living in Rome" (Janet H. Murray).
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Expatriate

Living outside of one's own country.
An expatriate rebel force
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Expatriate

One who lives outside one's own country.
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Expatriate

One who has been banished from one's own country.
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Expatriate

(transitive) To banish; to drive or force (a person) from his own country; to make an exile of.
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Expatriate

(intransitive) To withdraw from one’s native country.
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Expatriate

(intransitive) To renounce the rights and liabilities of citizenship where one is born and become a citizen of another country.
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Expatriate

To banish; to drive or force (a person) from his own country; to make an exile of.
The expatriated landed interest of France.
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Expatriate

Reflexively, as To expatriate one's self: To withdraw from one's native country; to renounce the rights and liabilities of citizenship where one is born, and become a citizen of another country.
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Expatriate

Voluntarily absent from home or country
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Expatriate

Expel from a country;
The poet was exiled because he signed a letter protesting the government's actions
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Expatriate

Move away from one's native country and adopt a new residence abroad
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Expatriate

A person residing in a country other than their native country.
She became an expatriate when she moved to France for her new job.
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Expatriate

A citizen of one country living and working in another.
The expatriate community in Dubai is diverse and vibrant.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Why are inpatriates important for multinational companies?

Inpatriates bring diverse perspectives and skills to the headquarters, aiding global integration.
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What is an inpatriate?

An inpatriate is an employee transferred from a foreign subsidiary to a company's headquarters.
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What is an expatriate?

An expatriate is a person living and working outside their native country.
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What are common reasons for becoming an expatriate?

Common reasons include employment opportunities, lifestyle choices, or personal reasons.
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Are inpatriates usually permanent transfers?

Inpatriate assignments are often temporary, intended for specific skills development or projects.
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Can expatriates be self-initiated?

Yes, individuals can choose to become expatriates independently of company assignments.
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What are common challenges for expatriates?

Expatriates frequently face cultural and language barriers, and sometimes work authorization issues.
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What support do expatriates typically receive?

Expatriates usually receive relocation assistance, cultural orientation, and sometimes language training.
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What challenges do inpatriates face?

Inpatriates often face challenges related to cultural adaptation and navigating corporate culture.
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Do inpatriates always return to their home countries?

Not necessarily; it depends on the company's policy and the individual's career path.
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Can expatriates be on temporary assignments?

Yes, many expatriates are on temporary assignments, though some choose to stay longer.
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Do expatriates maintain their citizenship?

Yes, expatriates usually maintain their original citizenship while living abroad.
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How do inpatriates contribute to global business strategy?

Inpatriates contribute by bringing diverse insights and facilitating global communication within the company.
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How do companies support inpatriates?

Companies often provide cultural training, relocation assistance, and professional development for inpatriates.
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What impact do inpatriates have on local employees?

Inpatriates can provide new perspectives and expertise, enhancing the skills of local employees.
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Is there a difference in legal status between inpatriates and expatriates?

Legal status varies based on individual circumstances and country laws.
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What personal benefits do expatriates often experience?

Expatriates often gain cultural insight, language skills, and diverse professional experiences.
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How do expatriates adapt to new cultures?

Expatriates adapt by learning about the local culture, language, and customs, and often through community engagement.
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Can an expatriate become an inpatriate?

Yes, if an expatriate is transferred to the company's headquarters, they become an inpatriate.
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Are inpatriates common in all industries?

Inpatriates are more common in multinational and globally-focused industries.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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