Expatriates’ return how? [Archives:2007/1042/Opinion]

April 16 2007

Dr. Samia Al-Aghbari
Yemenis have been suffering from the consequences of expatriation which left negative impacts on them and their children in different aspects of life despite the fact that most of them had made money from immigration, which has taken a great price in return.

No one feels the hardship of expatriates except for those who are forced by the economic conditions to taste the bitterness of immigration. In fact, nobody wants to leave his/her homeland and stay abroad for a long time but for a necessity such as the poor economic conditions or the lack of opportunities to achieve someone's dreams in his/her homeland country.

For how long the Yemeni expatriates, particularly the highly qualified people, will stay away from their own homeland, deprived of the joyful living with their children, families, friends, and beloved ones. Will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates remain holding this term “Immigration” in a way giving an implicative feeling that official parties promote immigration as a source of national income and bringing hard currency to the county? Is it obvious that the state does not seem to encourage expatriates to return home and stay in their homeland?

Supposedly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Expatriates should care about the Yemeni communities abroad, either by solving their problems or encouraging them to return home and contribute to building the nation, particularly the creative ones. Such objective can not be achieved unless the concerned parties are serious enough to conduct a comprehensive statistical survey of all the expatriates in other countries and classify them under different age groups or according to their qualifications, majors, professions, or careers. This classification has to provide the concerned authorities with a complete profile about the conditions of those expatriates on one hand, and enable the state to benefit from the well-educated and qualified ones such as the businessmen, physicians, economists, scientist, and thinkers in different areas of knowledge on the other hand. The state should promote the return of qualified expatriates instead of introducing foreign experts and paying them large sums of money from its treasury.

Of course, we should not forget the great efforts pursued by President of the Republic in attracting and encouraging Yemeni investors and businessmen to return home and participate in building the nation. Also, we should not forget the role played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, represented by its minister, H.E Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, in examining the situations of Yemeni communities in different foreign countries.

The issue of expatriates is neither momentary nor limited; rather it is an issue with deep historic roots resulting in sharp social, economic, political, cultural, and psychological consequences. So, paying closer attention to expatriates, establishing a strong bond between them and their homeland, and persuading them to return home must top the government's political agenda since the issue has long and medium term strategic and security dimensions.

The current international situation, which doesn't encourage immigration particularly in the developed countries, makes me concentrate on the expatriates' issues. For, the western governments have taken serious moves not only to deport illegal migrants but also to impose restrictions on the resident expatriates, who spent their time in serving the western communities and remained deprived of their homelands and relatives, and who usually dream of home-return which, with the passage of time, becomes difficult to achieve because if they return home, they will actually find themselves as strangers in their home country.

This phenomenon is attributed to the lack of attention paid to the expatriates when they return home and to the treatment they receive on the basis that they are expatriates, temporary residents, and are bound to leave their homeland. In addition, some community members envy them and believe that every expatriate has a fortune, which he/she had saved throughout the several years of expatriation, mainly if the expatriate returned Home from an oil-rich or European country.

This wrong look at the expatriates, who are all put in a single basket, usually exposed them to be harassed and forced to pay much more bribes than the non-expatriates pay. Additionally, they usually face obstacles while some of them may lose all what they have earned since they don't know how to deal with the local communities. As a result, they become infected with a psychological disorder and decide to leave their Homeland for expatriation once again.

Paying closer attention to the expatriates and fixing their problems in the countries where they reside in and helping those having the desire to come back Home is the best step needed to be taken by the government. I think the official interest in the citizens abroad is to enhance their sense of loyalty with their Homeland and its culture which cannot be achieved unless the expatriate enters his/her country's embassy in the foreign country with the feeling that he/she is at his/her own Home. Further, if the expatriate meets the officials at his/her country's embassy, he/she will feel that he/she meets his/her relatives and beloved ones. So, he/she will sense the status and strengths of his/her country when he/she feels oppressed.

Represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, the Yemeni government is supposed to encourage every talented and creative expatriate to return home to avail the country of his/her talent and creativity. Also, it should pay more attention to the foreign countries where the Yemeni communities reside. Furthermore, it has to play an effective role in assisting the expatriates, who would like to come back Home, to acclimatize with his/her local community and contribute to the building the nation.

Source: Al-Thawra daily