Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spain Tightens Immigration Rules

Spain regularized 600,000 undocumented immigrants in 2005 - it needed labor at the time. Now things have changed, the global financial crisis has affected their labor market and they have decided to crack down on immigrants without papers.

Spain proposes tougher laws for immigrants

The Associated Press/Washington Post
Friday, December 19, 2008; 10:52 AM

MADRID, Spain -- Grappling with rising unemployment and a moribund economy, the Spanish government proposed new immigration rules Friday to limit the influx of immigrants.

The measures, which need Parliamentary approval, would let police hold undocumented aliens longer pending expulsion and make it harder for foreign-born residents to bring relatives over. They are yet another reflection of the dramatic turnabout in Spain's economy.

Just a few years ago, Spain was Europe's top job-creator. In 2005, it even granted amnesty to 600,000 illegal aliens, many of whom worked under-the-table as laborers in a booming real estate sector.

But with the property bubble collapse in the last year, the Spanish economy is now on the verge of recession and unemployment has soared to an EU-high of 11.3 percent. Among immigrants, the jobless rate surpasses 17 percent.

Labor Minister Celestino Corbacho said Friday the government must limit immigrants so as not to swell the ranks of the unemployed..

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