Number of foreigners in Spain triples in eight years

12th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2004, MADRID – The number of foreigners living in Spain has tripled in the past eight years, the government said Monday.

12 January 2004

MADRID – The number of foreigners living in Spain has tripled in the past eight years, the government said Monday.

The current number of legal residents stood at 1.6 million, according to figures released by Foreign Secretary Gonzalez Robles.

Robes said the figure had tripled since 1996, when there were about 533,333 registered foreign residents.

The number of illegal immigrants expelled fom Spain last year was 92,000 - 20 percent more than in 2002.

Illegal immigration into Spain is a huge political issue which is certain to figure prominently in the forthcoming general election set for 14 March.

Most illegal immigrants travel from Africa, landing in small boats in the Canary Islands or the Spanish mainland.

Most are detained by the police or coastguards and are repatriated. Latest figures showed that 110,000 tried to reach Spain last year.

Though the number of legal foreign residents has tripled in the past eight years, the real number of ‘extranjeros’ is thought to be far higher than 1.6 million.

Many may not register with the authorities because they are simply daunted by the bureaucracy or want to evade Spanish taxes.

The reason for the influx of foreign residents must be partly due to the greater attraction and greater ease of buying homes in Spain.

Many may be retirees who move to Spain after working in their own country.

But perhaps the fastest growing group are  the young professionals who have found work opportunities in Spain either with multi-national companies or who are setting up businesses there.

One phenomenon are the increasing number of workers who live in Spain but who may commute back to their own countries to work or use the Internet to do business.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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