“My income decreased during the pandemic and I was in debt, so I went to the United States, where I worked and collected the money I sent with a false identity, because I have a tourist visa” | Reports | News

Charis (name protected), 49, works in advertising sales and is a mess Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, their income has dropped dramatically And he was in debt.

Even shortly before the restraining and confinement proceedings, he took out a $30,000 credit to build an apartment in which one of his four children who already have a commitment would live. Most companies do not like to advertise in traditional media and prefer to promote themselves directly on social networks. I was stuck between a hammer and an anvil.”

they His way out was to travel to the United States on a tourist visa he had obtained before the pandemic, but his real goal was work. First, he traveled to New York, where his cousin lives, for fifteen days. There he realized there were vacancies, so he went back to stay for six months, between last July and January of this year.

“On the second trip I bought a three-month ticket, but paid a $260 fine to change the return flight, and I finally stayed for six months,” says Charisse, who is divorced.

She had a hard time, with He works twice as much a week as he sleeps hardly an hour, even at the train station, between both functions. One was a day shift, Monday through Thursday, packing and sealing perfume and medicine. The other, Wednesday through Sunday, during night shifts in the hotel’s discotheque, laying down napkins, collecting cups and stocking the bathrooms with toilet paper.

Eat only one meal: a lunch consisting of a Peruvian ceviche plus rice, either with stew and fish; He ate it three times a day.”

In the first job he earned $14 an hour and in the second he earned $23. He had a tourist visa, so he got paid under a fake ID known as ID. “With that comes your checks, which you change at Western Union. All of a sudden, you can use your middle name and last name.”

“My stepfather loaned $8000 and paid 35% more ($10,800) in 4 years in unsecured documents that we freelancers can’t do, and I don’t want to join IESS nor should they commit to it”

Then send the money to Ecuador through couriers With a friend code that has already been legislated. “I paid well, because I also got a tip. He made two shipments a week, usually $900 each, which earned him a disco,” he says.

What he got from his day job was to cover his expenses in the United States, such as the rent of a room, for which he pays $600 a month, plus transportation and food. In total, he says he made about $65,000 during the six months he worked.Which he sent to the country so that his children could support themselves and cover the debts accumulated since 2020 using credit cards.

I couldn’t stay any longer, because the maximum duration of your being a tourist was coming to an end; Otherwise, I actually stayed as an immigrant and couldn’t leave. This was not my idea“.

Charice plans to return to the United States in August. aware of the risks to which you are exposed; Therefore, take precautions when collecting and sending money. “I’ve seen people who have found them. When you come back they don’t tell you anything; but, when you go again, they take you and put you in the room where they interrogate you, they take your phone, they check everything. They take the check you cashed, and tell you that you worked in such a place and that you didn’t You go as a tourist.

His work continues in Ecuador, as he coordinates everything from his home.

The The situation of three of her four children is difficult. One is a civil engineer who found a fair job last July, when Charice traveled to the United States; But after a month he was fired because one of his relatives was working in the same company and so far he has not found another job.

One of his sons just found a job last March in a supermarket in Guayaquil. He has a child from his wife who is not working. The other daughter has a degree in interior design and has recently started working.

Only her first daughter is married and lives independently in another house.

There are cases of Ecuadoreans who traveled on a tourist visa, but if they stay to work irregularly beyond the permitted period and can no longer return.

William Morello, CEO of 1800Migrante.com, confirms that the country lives The biggest rise in immigration since the economic crisis of 1998 and 1999.

what a total 1,654,188 Ecuadoreans traveled abroad during 2021 and 81,758 did not return; While in 2020 there was a balance of immigration in favor, as more than those who left returned, with a balance 1504 citizens.

In 2019, 1,544,708 Ecuadoreans left, 1,513,513 entered and 31,195 did not return.

Every year during this period 1997-2021 There is a negative balance because more Ecuadoreans travel abroad than return to the country except for 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2020, According to historical figures from the National Institute of Statistics, the census reflects mass immigration.

The 81,758 of those who did not return in 2021 were the highest number since 2004. In 2003 no return was recorded of 127,135 of those who left.

The problem is that some Ecuadoreans have acquired citizenship by going to work in the United States on a tourist visa, which could affect those traveling for this purpose, Murillo says.

“The United States government knows very well who Ecuadoreans are on tourist visas, and they are six months in the United States. I don’t know people with enough economic capacity to go on vacation for half a year. When they renew, they are arrested there, because they were told they had a five-year tourist visa, of which two and a half years they spent there as tourists. So they don’t renew it.”

The Remittances that reached the country from abroad totaled $4,362.6 million in 2021, up 31% from 2020.. It is a record that has not been recorded before, since the Central Bank of Ecuador released this statistic since 1993.

Made of boom

64% of remittances arriving during 2021 came from the United States; 21% from Spain; and 4% from Italy. These are the three countries from which the most money is sent.

Yenny and Cecilia Villafuerte Toala are two sisters who immigrated to Italy precisely in 2000, in the wave of emigration at the beginning of the XXI century. Since then they send money. Currently It’s $120 a month, at least, to cover your mom’s food expenseswho lives in southwest Guayaquil.

“Sometimes they have to send more, because my mother has osteoporosis and other diseases; he’s already in a wheelchair,” says Pilar, Winnie and sister Cecilia.

Eulalia Towala, a mother of three, is 89 and at that time also received money other than her monthly allowance from Italy to improve her home.

Pilar has no permanent job. Even before the pandemic, she was the one taking care of Eulalia, but this job is now responsible for other sisters.

The reason is that Pilar helps trade parcels with her sister, Yeni, who is the first in her family to emigrate to Genoa (Italy).

The The money flowing from Italy is vital to this familyPilar admits.

Guayas is the province with the most remittances, and for the first time broke the record, receiving $1,186.2 million, up 26% from 2020.

Azuay and Pichincha follow, but in the first there is an increase of 46% between 2020 and 2021, while the increase in the second was 24%.

Made of boom

Segundo Camino, professor of economics at Universidad Espirito Santo (UEES), says the fundamental problem is Lack of opportunities in Ecuador, forcing residents to look for them abroad. “This is a symptom of Ecuadoreans emigrating to countries like the United States and Europe, mostly. There are more Ecuadoreans who have left the country.”

also, The period in which fewer remittances were received (2010-2015) and the increase may have responded since thenCamino adds, Because the dollar rose against the euro, which is no longer the case today. “Those who worked in Europe, even if they earned more in euros, sent less dollars to the country (in return), and it is no longer the case, because now there is a decline in the value of the dollar against the euro.”

Camino stresses that the recovery of the employment situation in Ecuador is still very low and is taking place slowly. “Decent employment (with a base salary of $425 or more) increased by 1 percentage point, while informal employment grew and unemployment decreased slightly.; not expect it. Apparently, there is a transition from formal employment to underemployment or underemployment (i.e. people with incomes less than $425), which is job insecurity.”

Charisse is asking the current regime of President Guillermo Laso to open more jobs, especially for the youngest, and to abolish actions taken by companies he considers absurd.

So much so that young people are studying to stay prostrate at home because there is no work. If they are young, they ask for experience; If they have experience, they ask about young people; When they do not see it in other countries. Here no two relatives can work in the same company, while in New York there are up to five brothers who work in the same place without disputes.“.

Made of boom

Sending money from Ecuador is not what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic

The Remittances sent from Ecuador decreased by 20.6% from 2019 to 2020Because of job losses and low household income in the country in that period.

From 2020 to 2021, an increase of 17.2% was observed, from $507.7 million to $595 million, but what was transferred during 2019 ($639.2 million) has not yet been achieved.

What was sent in 2021 is 6.9% lower than what was recorded in 2019, so there is still no refund for values ​​before the COVID-19 pandemic.

97.3% of what was dispatched in 2021 was accomplished through couriers Rowing machines are followed by banks.

The recipient countries that received the most money were Colombia, Mexico, Peru and China.

Venezuela ranks 11th, but this is mainly due to the fact that third countries use to send money or are sent indirectly to avoid the official exchange that governs in that country between the bolivar (the official Venezuelan currency) and the dollar.

Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca are the cities from which the most money is sent, followed by Ambato and Santo Domingo. (YO)

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