50 migrants missing between Morocco and Spain

9th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

A boat carrying migrants from Morocco sank in the Mediterranean, while the Spanish government cuts legal employment-based immigration.

9 October 2008

MADRID / RABAT -- Nearly 50 migrants went missing while crossing the Mediterranean from Morocco to Spain, Spanish and Moroccan media reported Thursday.

The body of a young man was found on a beach in Kenitra province north of the Moroccan capital Rabat on Wednesday, Moroccan police sources said.

The only known survivor, who was found nearby, said the boat carrying the migrants overturned half an hour after setting sail Tuesday night.

The survivor was reported to be in good health. Both he and the dead victim were Moroccans. Police helicopters were searching for victims.

Thousands of Africans arrive in Spain annually by sea, and many thousands of others drown or die of exposure during such attempts.

Meanwhile, the Spanish government began to reduce employment offers to foreigners who wanted to immigrate legally, the newspaper El Pais reported.

A government catalogue of professions where the workforce is below requirements, for which companies can hire foreign employees, was cut by 32 percent, according to the paper.

Most cuts were made in sectors employing the largest numbers of immigrants, such as construction and services. The possibilities of legal employment-based immigration were reduced to practically zero in several regions.

Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho is concerned about rising unemployment in Spain, where the collapse of the construction industry added to the worsening economic crisis.

Corbacho, who was accused of violating the rights of immigrants, puts the unemployment rate among immigrants at 16 percent, compared to an overall rate of about 11 percent.

Spain has nearly 5 million legal immigrants, as well as hundreds of thousands of illegals, in a population of around 45 million. Most of the migrants come from Latin America, Morocco and eastern Europe.

More than 400,000 migrant workers were hired legally between 2005 and 2008.

[Dpa / Expatica]

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