The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility organized a workshop / consultative conversation to receive information from foreigners who come to Ecuador and Ecuadorians traveling abroad to share information from experiences and seek solutions to the problems that arise. To the meeting were invited people that are in relation with the foreigners and social organizations who seek Ecuadorian aboard best interests at heart. It was pleasant to share this space from the beginning to the end with colleagues who really seek common benefits and community growth, those whose interests are not to contribute to the enrichment of this meeting, fortunately left early.
Some of the uttered issues were the following:
• Cuenca-the city with the largest amount of foreigners of all nationalities
• High cost of living in the city of Cuenca – housing and safety problems.
• Discrimination against retired foreigners, motion presented by Dr. Lina Ulloa
• Lack of job opportunities
• Urgency of clear and effective guidelines to ensure legal certitude
• Benefits to foreigners and retribution to the Ecuadorian community
Cuenca has been established by social organizations as a cultural city, proud to hold the best quality water of Latin America, excellent public services, and considered the safest city in Ecuador.
During our talk, it was stated that Cuenca has become a city with a high cost of living. Not because of the high influx of foreigners in the city but of the abuse of Ecuadorian on house rentals, among other things. It was suggested that a Regulation to the law for tenancy and house construction in order to control the raise of leases since it is already impossible for a national to pay what a foreigner pays.
Aside from this, Cuenca is at high risk from discriminate migration, mainly from neighboring countries to Ecuador and in particular, due to the current political situation in Venezuela. It was suggested that the local government should place greater emphasis on the issue of safety and especially on the matter of housing for these people who leave their countries because of the harsh situation in their homeland.
Regarding the lack of job opportunity, it was stated that US and Canadian foreigners are the ones that provide sources of work to Ecuadorians. Dra. Ulloa suggested that the government should create a labor policy in which public institutions were required to hire a percentage of foreigners who are willing to work (as the private sector is currently required to have a percentage of people with disabilities )as part of their team work thus to avoid a burden on the state and safety.
A representative of Venezuela requested that the immigration office should work in another scheduling system for the visa the application. Also, a much more viable Venezuela-Ecuador agreement would be sought since they are not in a position to pay for health insurance, knowing as a fact that they have independent jobs to survive the day. It was requested that the consulates of Ecuador abroad adhere to a unify document legalization process, in order to avoid mistakes on legalization causing rejection on visas to foreigners, and re-doing processes in Ecuador migration offices
In regards to discrimination, which was one of the specific points to be discussed at the meeting, Dra Ulloa set this point to discuss: voluntary affiliated retiree foreign are being totally discriminated against, because they are the only ones demanded to pay social security according to their declared income in their visas, when there 12 categories of immigration remaining in reference to article 51 of the Human Mobility Law, The Social Security Law and its collect regulations; none of the three above indicated norms reads retirees but “FOREIGNERS, who voluntarily affiliate to the IESS pay their real income”, as established in the Human Mobility Law came into force on February 6 Of 2017 and is not retroactive. On the other hand, the active commitment of foreigners, as the representative of the SENAMI organization stated, is a benefit to the community. There are many voluntary organizations that support people economically challenge created by this group of the population, working along with municipalities of the province of Azuay and Cañar and it was suggested to the government to invite foreigners to continue joining these organizations as part of their contributions while living in Ecuador.
These were the highlights of meeting beyond the issues faced by Ecuadorians aboard.
We would like to take this as an opportunity to invite to the Conference at the Chambers of Commerce to talk about the most important matters of the Regulation to the Human Mobility Law this Thursday, August 24th, 2017 at 4 PM.