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What are the differences among a local national, an expatriate, a third-country national, and an inpatriate?

When hiring globally, it is necessary to understand the differences in these terms:

Local nationals. Also known as host-country nationals, these employees are hired for jobs in their own country. For example, a United Kingdom citizen who is employed at Coca Cola’s U.K. subsidiary is a local national.

Expatriates. U.S. companies have historically defined expatriates as employees who are asked to work outside their home countries for a period of time with the intent of eventually returning to their home countries. Expatriates who are from the country where the company is headquartered are referred to as headquarters expatriates. An expatriate may also be referred to as a parent-country national.

Third-country nationals (TCNs). These employees are not from the home country or the host country. TCNs have traditionally been technical or professional employees hired for short-term employment and are often considered as international freelance employees.

Inpatriates. These foreign national employees have been transferred to work in the home country of an international organization on a temporary or permanent basis.


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