How long has it been since you last saw your loved family members and gave them a hug?
A-Fen, who came from Hanoi Vietnam, once had a happy family. However, beyond anyone’s expectation, A-Fen’s husband gradually became irresponsible for the household matters afterwards, and fights over the living expenses between A-Fen and her husband occurred frequently, which eventually led to A-Fen’s suffering of domestic violence from her husband. In order to take on the financial burden, A-Fen chose to come to Taiwan working as a nursing worker at the age of 41.
Initially, A-Fen was arranged to take care of an elderly, and she got along with the employer’s family very well. However, as A-Fen’s employer moved away later on, she was left taking care of the elder by herself. Not only did it become more and more difficult for her to take a leave, but her wages sometimes were postponed by the employer. “I even had to buy foods for the elderly with my own money” said A-Fen, who couldn’t help sobbing while telling this part of her story. A-Fen confessed that she didn’t mean to leave the elderly, and truely felt sorry for what she did. It was because the situation never got better after A-Fen reflected the problem to her agency, while her family in Vietnam needed her to send the money back home, she decided to leave the employer and became an undocumented worker.
“Life of being an undocumented worker was even harsher than it used to be” said A-Fen. Every time she thought of her family, she would check in with her family members through video chatting while she had to sneak on the streets and stay alert on law-enforcement authorities at any time. In order to bring home the bacon, A-Fen had to hang in there by all possible means.
As years of hiding went by unwittingly, the physical situation of A-Fen’s parents got worse one day after another, and she was afraid of not being able to see them again. When the National Immigration Agency(NIA) held the “Expanded Overstayers Voluntary Departure Program” in 2019, she didn’t cease the opportunity to go home. Recently, A-Fen heard from her friends that the NIA was holding the program in coping with COVID-19, and this time, in order to see her family, A-Fen no longer hesitated.
“I couldn’t believe the procedures of turning myself in would be so easy” said A-Fen, who finally appeared a big smile on her face when thinking of being able to go home to see and hug her parents and children that she hasn’t met for such a long time.
A-Fen has decided to turn herself in for her parents and children that she hasn’t seen for many years. What about you?
Turn yourself in, and go home safely!