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Tamil Nadu immigrants face problems with migration expenses

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Chennai: Raghavendran Ganesan was relatively a well-placed emigrant with roots in Tamil Nadu. He was working in a world famous Indian firm and stationed in European Union’s headquarters Brussels in Belgium.

Of course, the entire Indian administrative arm based in Brussels was searching for him after he went missing last week following an IS-triggered bomb blast on a metro train.

That was, of course, a rare situation.

And that kind of attention to each of 35 lakh people from Tamil Nadu living in various parts of the world, who remit over Rs 61,800 crore back to country, not possible even in dreams. “We have seen cases where bodies of people who died in Gulf countries not reaching their homes in Tamil Nadu for months,” says Sr M. Valarmathi, state coordinator for Migrants Forum. Chennai.

Airport sources estimate that 12 to 15 dead bodies arrive every month in the international terminal and most will be from Gulf countries. “Similarly, bodies of Tamil emigrants will be arriving at Tiruchy, Coimbatore and also in Thiruvananthapuram” a police officer said. A government survey last year found there are 3.5 million people from Tamil Nadu working abroad,  with Chennai topping the list with 3.2 lakh people, followed by Coimbatore with 1.9 lakh and Ramanathapuram 1.4 lakh. It is estimated that 15 per cent of Tamil emigrants are women.

While 22 lakh people struggle in other countries, the rest – 13 lakh people – returned home because the contract for a majority of them was not renewed last year.  While 38 per cent of the returnees said their contracts were not renewed, 19 per cent said family issues had dragged them back, eight per cent noted they were getting poor wages – very less than promised – abroad and another eight per cent decided to come back because of bad health. “It does not mean that once returned, these workers will not go back. They will try to go to another place or another country hoping to land in a better job,” Valarmathi says.

Answering a query in Parliament recently, Gen V. K. Singh, minister of state for external affairs, said the number of Indian workers who emigrated through emigration clearance to 18 notified countries has come down from 8.16 lakh in 2013 to 7.81 lakh in 2015. Singh also said  that in the last financial year the remittance back home from Indians abroad was US $ 69 billions. (Rs 4.6 lakh crore )

The survey in Tamil Nadu also found that approximately 10 lakh women in the state are left behind at home because their husbands are working abroad.
The survey showed these women, with an average schooling of 11 years, are more qualified than males in general population.  In

In general population,  average schooling for males is around 8.5 years while for women it is 7.3 years. The survey showed that nine per cent of women left behind never visited the country where their husbands are working and 97 per cent of them keep in touch with their husbands using mobile phones.

On an average, migrants from Tamil Nadu pay around Rs 1.08 lakh and half of their money is gobbled up by recruitment agencies. The survey shows that 52 per cent of emigrants had met their migration expenses on their own by family support or by borrowed money.

(Source– deccanchronicle.com)

Next Story

Hope in Mexican Border Towns, Migrants Wait In Hope Of Rescue

Many migrants have been exposed to violence, said Gordon Finkbeiner of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, from “organized crime groups that are along the route.

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Migrants
Migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Guatemala wait at bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas for immigration officials to allow them to turn themselves in and ask for asylum in U.S., Nov. 12, 2018. VOA

Migrants have arrived in Tijuana and other border cities in caravans of thousands, while others come in small groups of a dozen or so. They have often walked for days through Central America, then ridden buses or gotten rides on trucks through the vast expanses of Mexico. In border cities like Tijuana, they find help in shelters run by charities.

Asylum seeker Angela Escalante is here with her husband and 7-year-old son.

“The situation is very bad, there are no jobs,” she said of her country of Nicaragua, blaming political violence there on President Daniel Ortega. “There’s no security so you can’t safely walk the streets,” she added.

Central American migrants settle in a shelter at the Jesus Martinez stadium in Mexico City, in Mexico City, Jan. 28, 2019.
Central American migrants settle in a shelter at the Jesus Martinez stadium in Mexico City, in Mexico City, Jan. 28, 2019. VOA

Post-traumatic stress

New arrivals say they also face violence from cartels and local drug gangs.

“It was around 14 years ago they killed the brother of my grandfather and a son of my grandfather, and because of this, they are still pursuing us,” said Jorge Alejandro Valencia, 19, from Michoacan state on Mexico’s western coast. He said the criminals later killed his grandfather, and they now are threatening his sister.

Migrants
Survey of Migrants From Mexico. VOA

Many migrants have been exposed to violence, said Gordon Finkbeiner of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, from “organized crime groups that are along the route. What we see and what we attend to is mostly situations of high levels of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder.”

A 23-year-old Honduran, newly arrived in a shelter, said a gang demanded he sell drugs, and he could see no escape except to leave his country. He asked not be identified, saying that the gangs monitor Facebook and if his identity is revealed, the gang would target his family.

US citizens wait, too

Africans and Haitians, who relocated from their countries to Venezuela, and Central Americans from Central America’s northern triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, all wait in the city’s shelters. Every case is different, and many are complicated.

A woman from Honduras has a 12-year-old son with U.S. citizenship and displays his passport. The boy, named Jimmy, was born in the United States but returned to Honduras with his mother when she was deported.

A middle-aged man named Efren Galindo was born in Mexico and grew up in Texas. Two years ago, he was deported and nearly killed by Mexican drug cartels, he explained as he displayed scars on his back and shoulder.

“I’ve been 46 years, [nearly] my whole life over there,” Galindo said, pointing northward to the United States. “I’m married to an American citizen. I have four American sons, an American daughter and 16 grand babies,” he added.

Credible fear, big backlog

To be granted asylum, petitioners must demonstrate a credible fear of persecution or torture, and show that they are not only fleeing poverty. Those who have been deported from the United States face added restrictions. Many having been barred from returning for five, 10, 20 years or more.

The U.S. immigration system, meanwhile, is overwhelmed, with a backlog worsened by the recent 35 day partial shutdown of the U.S. government in a dispute between Democrats in Congress and U.S. President Donald Trump over a border wall. U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services said in a statement Jan. 21 that it faced “a crisis-level backlog of 311,000” asylum cases that had yet to be interviewed for credible fear.

The backlog of all immigration court cases was more than 800,000 in November, according researchers at Syracuse University.

Many detention facilities that house illegal entrants are temporary, according to Border Patrol Agent Tekae Michael on the border south of San Diego.

“I know ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is completely overrun,” she said. “We don’t have enough immigration judges to be able to process efficiently and effectively and swiftly.”

Mexico is granting temporary papers to Central Americans, and volunteers from U.S.-based groups like San Diego’s Border Angels bring supplies to the shelters. Mexican businesses are making donations.

Also Read: Mexico to Relocate 120 Central American Migrants

Carlos Yee of the Catholic shelter Casa del Migrante says aid workers like him feel frustrated.

“We don’t have the power to work through this enormous bureaucracy. We only can say to them, be patient,” he said.

The city of San Diego is visible through a border fence, just 30 kilometers north of here, but these migrants in Tijuana face many more hurdles on their journey. Yet, they are still hopeful. (VOA)