In the period from 2011 to 2013, Ecuador received a growing number of immigrants. Relative to 2011, the number of permanent immigrants nearly quintupled while the number of temporary immigrants doubled in the same period. Temporary movements for work-related reasons were 77 percent of total temporary movements. Family reunification was the motivation for more than 70 percent of permanent immigrants in 2013 and employment some 23 percent.
Since the 1990s, the stock of the foreign-born as a percentage of the total population has increased slowly, reaching 2.3 percent in 2013, larger than the average percentage of the foreign-born in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During the period 2009-2012, the number of Ecuadorian emigrants fell 31 percent. The United States, the principal country of destination for Ecuadorians, was the destination for 39 percent of them in 2012. Nonetheless the percentage of expatriates moving to the United States fell by some 15 points relative to 2009, while movements to the main destination countries in Europe, Spain and Italy, fell by more than half between 2009 and 2012.
Unemployment has continued to increase among Ecuadorian emigrants, particularly among women. Since 2010, it increased by 6 percentage points, while among men, the increase was less than a point. Generally unemployment for men increased substantially in the first years following the financial crisis, while for women it increased after 2010.
Throughout 2013, Ecuador received 8,280 asylum requests, mostly from Colombia, followed by Cuba and Haiti. This was 32% fewer than the previous year. For the same year, the country was home to 123,051 refugees, most of them citizens of Colombia, Cuba, Afghanistan and Peru.
The inflow of remittances was 2.45 billion dollars in 2013, a slight decrease (0.1%) from the previous year. This change reflects both the slowing down of emigration in recent years as well as the impact of the financial crisis. Although remittances continue to be second among sources of foreign exchange, contributing about 3.5 percent of GDP, the levels are far below those of 2007, when they represented around 5 percent of GDP.
On the policy side, a fundamental reform of migration legislation (which dates back to 1970) is underway since October 2013. It is known as the Law of Human Mobility project (“Ley de Movilidad Humana”). The objective is to create a legislative framework that is compatible with the 2008 constitution. The new law will ensure the regulation of the different immigration modalities of entry at the national level and combine more than a dozen regulatory bodies into a single legal body. Above all, it will give immigrants rights-based access to the different development programs in health care, education and job placement, some of which are currently restricted to nationals.
In regards to refuges, the Executive Decree 1182 of May 30, 2012, , is the new legislation that regulates asylum seeking, according to the provisions of Article 41 of the Constitution of Ecuador. It aims at responding to applications submitted in a timely manner and ensuring due process, and at identifying those manifestly unfounded, abusive and illegitimate requests.
Recently, in September 12, 2014, the Constitutional Court the deadline for seeking asylum is 3 months for the filing and 15 days for appeals.
As with other countries of the region, the economic recession in Europe and the United States in recent years has resulted in an increase of returns of nationals living abroad to Ecuador. According to the latest Population Census of 2011, 72,000 Ecuadorians have returned to their homeland. Spanish statistics, however, show departures of almost 150 thousand Ecuadorians from 2002-2013.
The Ecuadorian State has sought to support the re-integration of returning migrants through several programs. The “Welcome Home” Plan which consists of three initiatives: 1) the “Vínculos” Programme, 2) the Incentives and Orientation Programme for migrants to generate social and productive investment and 3) the “Return Home” Programme (“Volver a Casa”).
The “Vínculos” Programme sets up virtual platforms that act as social networks for Ecuadorian emigrants, facilitating communication with their families and communities. It also establishes Centres for Ecuadorians abroad (Casas del Ecuador) in cities that concentrate a large number of Ecuadorians. These centers offer social and cultural activities and provide information on services for migrants offered by the government both abroad and upon return.
The Incentives and Orientation Programme for migrants is an economic program that gives small loans and technical assistance to immigrants who wish to implement social or productive investment projects.
The “Volver a Casa” Programme provides support to return migrants from more than 30 governmental institutions. Among others, these include civil registry services in destination countries prior to departure, facilitated academic and professional certifications, access to housing credits, training for the tourism industry, craft workshops, and tax exemptions for new enterprises.
In 2011, the Parliament of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) decided to adhere formally as a group to the Agreement on Residence for Nationals of States Party to Mercosur, plus Chile and Bolivia. Ecuador has ratified the Agreement. The beneficiaries of this visa category in Ecuador are nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. Through this Residency Agreement, the country grants temporary residence to citizens of these countries for 2 years, after which they may obtain the right of permanent residence.
Recent trends in migrant’s flows and stocks and in labor market outcomes of emigrants
|Migration inflows (foreign nationals)||Persons||Per 1000 inhabitants||Percent change|
|Permanent migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type||Persons||% distribution|
|Temporary migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type||Persons||% distribution|
|Migration outflows (nationals)||Persons||% of total||% change|
|From unstandardised destination country data||2009||2010||2011||2012||2012||2012/2009|
|Asylum seekers and refugees*||Per million inhabitants||Number of persons|
|Inflows of asylum seekers||148.4567695487||68.278050521953||61.837314417054||61.380574941552||84.988177357314||966|
|Refugees resident in the country||3420.3719752017||3516.8115186711||3550.8044531129||3549.3984640115||3509.3466027493||55860|
|Components of population growth||Per 1000 inhabitants|
|Foreign-born population||Percentage of the total population||Persons||% change|
|Remittances||Millions of dollars||% of GDP||% change|
|Macroeconomic indicators||Annual growth in %||Average annual growth||Level|
|GDP/per capita ((PPP ) in constant 2011 international dollars)||1.8354476690945||6.113183393476||3.5197413033867||2.9722282325755||3.6101501496332||10541|
|Labour market outcomes of emigrants in Europe and the United States||Percentages|
|Participation rate||Participation rate||86.78112||82.79677||76.03918||75.98062||81.3415||79.29363|
|Employment rate||Employment rate||66.58129||63.34208||61.72129||57.35296||64.12023||60.26399|
|Unemployment rate||Unemployment rate||23.27675||23.49692||18.82962||24.51633||21.17156||23.99895|