Their search for greener pastures and a better life brought them to India in 2008. However, they found themselves cooling their heels in jail for entering the country in violation of immigration laws.
Five years down the line, the family hailing from Myanmar -- comprising two adults and their five children -- released from Amritsar's Central Jail on Tuesday, is in the middle of nowhere.
With their country refusing to take them back, their fate hangs in balance.
Noor Hussain, his wife Dilraj Begum and their five children -- three daughters and two sons -- had crossed over the International border from Chobhal in Tarn Taran in 2008. They were subsequently lodged in Amritsar Central Jail since July, 2009.
After being released, the family was handed over to Tarn Taran SSP on Tuesday. RK Sharma, deputy superintendent, Amritsar central jail, said, "Noor Hussain and his family, all residents of Myanmar, were arrested for trying to sneak into India. A case under Sections 3, 34, 20 of the Indian passport act and section 14 of the foreign act was registered against them."
Though an NGO has come to the rescue of the hapless family, no one has approached the SSP in this regard.
Narrating his tale of woe, Noor Hussain, told HT on Thursday, "We decided to come to India to earn a livelihood as conditions back home were not conducive for our survival."
"We wanted to lead a better life in India. We were arrested while trying to enter the country illegally. It was in violation of the immigration laws," he added.
Meanwhile, Tarn Taran SSP Ranjit Singh, said, "The family's fate will be decided only when some NGOs approach the police with the proposal of supporting them. We are looking for NGOs who can look after them."
"The responsibility of Noor Hussain and his family will be entrusted to the NGO that approaches the police with the orders of the SDM," he added.