What Are Parent-Country Nationals?

The term "parent-country national" refers to citizens living or working for short or long periods of time overseas. Parent-country nationals, frequently called "expatriates," generally leave home nations on the request of employers. Citizens working for multinational corporations or international organizations, for instance, occasionally need to relocate to perform specific job duties.

Expatriates leave home countries to work for the same company overseas. In some respects, expatriates resemble immigrants. However, immigrants typically leave on their own initiative to seek work opportunities elsewhere. They do not always have work lined up in the destination country, whereas expatriates leave one nation for another with the certainty of employment and wages.

Expatriates serve in a variety of professional capacities. The length of time expatriates remain away from home varies depending on the circumstances. Expatriates working for humanitarian organizations might relocate temporarily to provide assistance following natural disasters while others work at headquarters to implement long-term changes and strategies.

Expatriates leave for work assignments with the guarantee of an eventual return to the the home country. Unlike immigration, expatriate assignments overseas do not require permanent stays. Expatriates living and working overseas may find communities of other expatriates, either working for the same company or merely residing in the same location. In addition to expatriates, third-country nationals and inpatriates also relocate internationally for job assignments.