For Ahmed Ghazy, migration seemed an inevitable part of finding success and promising opportunities. This led him to the Netherlands, where he believed economic prosperity was a matter of dedication and hard work. These notions were quickly called into question when, despite his work ethic, he found himself in the Netherlands with an expired visa, no residency, and no regular means of employment.
Finding a job as an irregular migrant proved nearly impossible, and for five months he struggled fruitlessly, until he was approached by an Egyptian friend, who offered him a job as a cleaner in a restaurant for 25 EUR a day. While the income was sufficient for his basic needs, the restaurant’s owner did not allow him to work without residency for an extended period.
Mr. Ghazy at last found an employment opportunity, working in another restaurant for upward of 16 hours a day. He had managed to sustain himself financially until the owner let him go to cut some of the restaurant’s expenses. Mr. Ghazy was left without recourse, and questioned what he could possibly do next; it was at this difficult time that he learned his mother, still living in Egypt, was seriously ill.
Through word of mouth, Mr. Ghazy found out about the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, and decided to take this opportunity to go back to Egypt. He successfully passed the screening procedure, and decided to leave the country with the added help of a reintegration grant to be used to open a business in Egypt.
Upon returning to Egypt he used the grant to open an electronics store, which due to the economic climate and low demand became financially insecure. He now works in the fabric business, selling bed sheets in addition to his job at a poultry farm. Mr. Ghazy still sees the beauty and possibilities represented by regular migration, and knows that opportunities abound when regular means of migration are possible.