Yes, the word expat(riate) has classist¹ origins.
Why is this site called expats, you ask?
Stack Exchange originates in Stack Overflow, a website for programmers. Many SE sites exhibit a strong bias toward the programming profession, and Expats is no exception. One site where this is particularly obvious is The Workplace. Browse the questions there and you will see overwhelmingly disproportionately many more questions concerning software developers than janitors, cleaners, fast food workers (there are some of those, often students), fishermen, farmers in rural Kenya, cooks, drivers, mailmen, barbers, or indeed middle class non-programming professions such as nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers. Hence, it is no surprise that the initiative for our Q&A came from white-collar mind workers, quite possibly dominated by software developers. Within such communities, people often refer to themselves as expatriates rather than migrant workers.
That does not mean that anyone who uses the word expatriate is classist. More likely than not, most have not thought about it too much.
On Stack Exchange, we should thrive to be an inclusive community. Clearly, we welcome questions from migrant workers (and non-workers) in all categories I have listed above and many more. The key questions to think about are:
- Is usage of the name "Expatriates" off-putting to people whose questions and expertise would be a welcome addition to the site, but who do not identify as such? In other words; are we losing potential users due to our name?
- If the answer to question (1) is demonstrably positive, would a name change, such as "Migrants", resolve this problem?
- Are there any downsides to a name change? Might any current users feel less welcome, users who identify as expatriates but not as migrants? Would we risk losing users?
Personally, I don't like the word expatriate at all. I've lived outside my home country for nearly ten years. I've worked as a scientist in Sweden, Canada, and the United Kingdom. When people talk about migrant workers, they typically think of blue-collar manual workers in restaurants, hotels, agriculture, construction, etc. I consciously refer to myself as a migrant worker, perhaps just to remind people that migration transcends class boundaries.
I would support a broad and inclusive debate about the pros and cons of a name change. A name change is a quite radical measure, and should not be taken lightly. However, if we can show solid evidence that a name change would be beneficial to the site and its users, then I believe it is the right path to take.
¹I think the word is classist, but I don't think it's racist. A middle class man from Bangalore who moves to Silicon Valley is typically described as an expat. A construction worker from Bulgaria who seeks a job in Germany is typically referred to as a migrant worker. Skin colour is not the determinant, although it does correlate with class on a global scale, of course. The article you link claims that Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are immigrants., but I am not convinced. If an African analyst works for a bank in the City of London and earns £200k/year, I believe he or she will be called an expat.