Ecuador’s Ministry of Exterior Relations says that too many Ecuadorians returning from the U.S. and Europe are missing out on benefits that can help them get reestablished back home.
“The government offers free university education, no-doc loans, financial assistance in bringing household goods and vehicles back to Ecuador, training for entrepreneurs, and many other benefits,” says a spokeswoman for the ministry. She adds: “Our intention is to assist in rebuilding healthy, prosperous families.”
The ministry estimates that more than 400,000 Ecuadorians who left the country since 2007 — most of them looking for employment in Europe and the U.S. — have come home. The largest numbers of returnees have settled in Guayaquil (70,000), Quito (60,000), and Cuenca (30,000).
Ecuador’s office of immigration believes that about 2.5 million citizens remain overseas.
According to the immigration officials, returning Ecuadorians need to provide cedulas, voting certificates, immigration records and three documents of their former country to take advantage of special assistance but says it will work with those missing documents.
National Assemblywoman Ximena Peña, a sponsor of the legislation that supports returning Ecuadorians, says the program has been popular but that many eligible people have not taken advantage of it. “This is one of the most generous and progressive programs of its kind in the world,” she says. “The intention is to welcome home our fellow countrymen with open arms and to make their transition as easy as possible.”