Immigrants behind 50pc growth over past 5 years

16th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 November 2006, MADRID — Immigration has been the cause of half Spain's growth over the past five years, according to a report published on Thursday.

16 November 2006

MADRID — Immigration has been the cause of half Spain's growth over the past five years, according to a report published on Thursday.

The government's top economic adviser, Miguel Sebastian, said that immigrants "have improved the employment opportunities of Spaniards and have reduced the rate of structural unemployment," referring to joblessness that cannot be explained by economic cycles.

Immigration, he said, accounts for a third of the increase in the rate of female workforce participation in Spain, since in households with children "it's more likely" that both spouses will work if they have a nanny to look after the children.

The study said that immigration has also boosted per capita income by an average of 0.3 percent annually over the past five years.

Sebastian added Spain's per capita income will exceed that of Italy in 2007 and that of Germany within eight years.

In addition, he said that "in contrast to what many people think," foreign workers contributed to the government's 2005 budget surplus.

Sebastian said that although immigrants contribute less to the state treasury than their numbers would indicate, they also use fewer services, and so "the balance is positive and will continue being so in the short and medium term".

"Things will only change around 2030," he said, when the immigrants of today are starting to retire, but he insisted that "the general effects are positive".

However, he said that immigrants have put downward pressure on real earnings, since they receive salaries that are 30 percent below those of Spaniards.

Sebastian also said that immigration has had a "moderately negative" impact on productivity, given that immigrants have "less experience and must adapt themselves to a new culture".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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