Immigration policy gets approval from unions, bosses

21st February 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Socialist government on Wednesday obtained explicit support for its immigration policy from business leaders and trade unions, winning an important endorsement ahead of the general election on 9 March.

21 February 2008

MADRID - The Socialist government on Wednesday obtained explicit support for its immigration policy from business leaders and trade unions, winning an important endorsement ahead of the general election on 9 March in which immigration, along with the economy, has become a key issue.

Following a meeting between the secretary of state for immigration Consuelo Rumí, the CEOE and CEPYME business confederations and the UGT and CCOO unions, all parties agreed that the government's immigration strategy in the last four years had been a marked improvement over previous policies. The decision to change responsibility for immigration affairs from the Interior to the Labour Ministry and to link residency rights to job offers "has been decisive in incorporating immigration into social dialogue," the statement said.

Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero faced criticism both abroad and at home in 2005 when it carried out a mass regularisation of undocumented foreign workers, but even that move met yesterday with the comprehension of business leaders and union bosses. "It helped normalise (the workers') situation and their labour relations," they agreed.

The agreement marks an attempt by Socialists to underscore a different approach to the Popular Party's plans, which include forcing immigrants to sign a so-called "integration contract."

[Copyright EL PAÍS / TOMÁS BÁRBULO 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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