Coming Back Home: Ecuador Wants Immigrants in the U.S. and Spain to Return
LiveTheLifeinEcuador | May 18, 2015
To find jobs and a better life for their families, over 1.5 million Ecuadorians (almost 11% of the country’s population) migrated to Spain and the United States to find livelihood.
The diaspora of over 550,000 Ecuadorians to the United States started in the 1970’s. The number grew exponentially in the 1990’s following the crash of the financial system in Ecuador, which led to a political and economic crisis.
More than 700,000 Ecuadorians migrated to Spain. It was easier for them to settle there since it did not require for them to have visas until the year 2003. There, a lot of Ecuadorians took on labor-intensive jobs as construction workers or domestic helpers.
In 2008, the economic crisis in the United States as well as rising unemployment in Spain made a lot of migrants think about going back to their home country as options for stable employment made it difficult for them to stay.
The Welcome Home Plan (also known as Plan Bienvenidas a Casa) was launched by Ecuadorian Government under President Rafael Correa’s 2006 campaign to aid in the return of immigrants in a way that is “voluntary, dignified and sustainable.”
In collaboration with non-profit organizations, the program provides initiatives, support and aid in the transition of those who wish to return to Ecuador. One-way tickets, various workshops, language classes as well as business subsidies, custom breaks and low-interest loans are also available for program beneficiaries. One of the popular programs under the Welcome Home Plan is the “Cucayo Fund” where entrepreneurs were given start-up capital of up to $50,000.
In 2008, 59 projects were sponsored by the Welcome Home Program, while approximately 300 projects were covered under the program’s budget in 2009.
As of 2009, an estimated number of around 5,000 Ecuadorian immigrants from the United States have gone back home through this government initiative.